Since the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores, leading to the announcement of stringent lockdown measures and an almost total shutdown of the economy, many South African small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to support and buy local.

In the light of this, I’ll be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks, featuring my favourite South African makers and brands – from jewellery designers and artists to skincare products and shoes.

Two weeks ago, I featured a few artists and illustrators whose work I dream of collecting. This week, I’ll be featuring 12 South African jewellery designers (presented in alphabetical order) whom I came across on Instagram during those lazy lockdown days. Their varied and diverse handiwork remains among the favourite posts in my feed. I do, however, think that I may have to do another round-up at a later stage – there are seriously SO MANY amazing jewellery-makers in this country!

If you have any local brands/makers you love – no matter what they do – please leave a suggestion in the comments! 

Continue Reading "Support local: 12 South African jewellery designers to watch"

As you might have gathered from some of my previous posts, I’m a huge fan of supporting local brands and makers. Also, whenever I need to buy an item of clothing, homeware or even consumables, I always try to check that it has been made in South Africa and preferably somehow supports small business. Of course, this isn’t ALWAYS possible, but I try…

Anyway, since the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores, leading to the announcement of stringent lockdown measures and an almost total shutdown of the economy, many South African small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to support and buy local.

In the light of this, I’ll be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks, featuring my favourite South African makers and brands – from jewellery designers and artists to skincare products and shoes. I’ll be kicking off my series with artists and illustrators whose work I’d love to collect and hang all over the walls of our new home.

If you have any local brands/makers you love – no matter what they do – please leave a suggestion in the comments! 

Continue Reading "Support local: Proudly South African artists & illustrators"

It’s been a heady few weeks for us South Africans since the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup at the end of October.

The team returned home last week and received a well-deserved heroes’ welcome at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, followed by more of the same in the various cities they’ve visited as part of their Trophy Tour.

Today was Cape Town’s turn and, of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

After an early wake-up to get some work done, I grabbed my camera, got on the MyCiti bus and headed into the streets just before 11am.

I wended my way from Strand, through St. George’s Mall and all along Adderley, turning down into Darling Street where the celebratory atmosphere was practically palpable. All along the way, fans waved South African flags and burst into spontaneous renditions of Shosholoza and the National Anthem. Most were kitted out in green-and-gold, but sadly some couldn’t escape their workwear. No matter what they were wearing, though, not a soul was left out of the festivities!

It was truly a sight to behold and I relished capturing some special moments on camera.

Here they are:

Continue Reading "Snaps: Springboks Trophy Tour"

With all the Bok-related patriotism in the air, it’s hard not to think about being South African. I’ve caught myself softly singing our national anthem a good few times since Saturday and, without fail, feel my eyes well up when reaching those last two lines.

Earlier this year, I wanted out. I wanted to pack my bags and move somewhere safe. I wanted to escape the violence and the tension and the feeling of always looking over my shoulder.

But what good would that do? In the name of safety, I’d lose so much.

I’d lose living in a country where:

Continue Reading "On being South African"

Every so often, when my schedule allows and deadlines aren’t coming at me as thick and fast as they normally do, I spend an hour or two volunteering at an urban farm close to my home in Cape Town.

Sometimes, I help place tiny seeds in polystyrene planting trays and other times I clear weeds from the veggie beds. It’s nothing fancy and I love it precisely because of this. A couple of hours away from my laptop, feeling the sun on my shoulders and inhaling the scent of earth and soil.

Continue Reading "Random Thought: Of Our National Anthem and the Ones Who Love It Most"

There are many things Instagram has done wrong in recent years, most notably changing their algorithm and sneakily squeezing adverts in among stories.

One thing they seem to be getting right, however, is hitting a target market bullseye when it comes to promoted posts.

How do I know this? Well, the majority of promoted posts that have popped into my feed lately have been so enticing that I’ve clicked through and followed the relevant profiles.

So doing, I’ve also discovered a whole new bunch of local makers to add to my favourites list.

Here are eight rather diverse items I’m particularly in love with right now:

Continue Reading "8 Pretty South African-Made Items I’m Loving Right Now"

For a long time, the fashion industry slipped under the radar for its impact on the environment. I guess everyone was so busy focusing on the way it tends to warp women’s relationship with their bodies and a myriad of other social issues.

But then, in 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1138 people. Not just any people. People who worked long hours and got paid less than minimum wage to create garments for fast fashion chains, such as H&M. For the first time since Nike’s sweatshops caused an outcry in the 1990s, the world received a sobering reminder that the clothes we buy with the change in our pockets and toss away without a second thought are actually made by real people – mostly women with households and children and husbands and errands to run – in far-off places, working in shocking conditions.

Then, of course, there is the unpleasant little fact that the fashion industry is the second biggest pollutant on the planet. In the US alone, 13 million tons of textiles make it into landfills every year, accounting for 9 percent of total non-recycled waste. Apart from this, the water needed to keep cotton crops healthy and thriving is exorbitant, while the toxic chemicals in dyes seep into our rivers and oceans.

While this all paints a pretty dismal picture for anyone with a passion for dressing sharply, the good news is there are actually a lot of ways to keep your fashion-related carbon footprint in check.

Here are some ideas:

Continue Reading "How to build a more sustainable wardrobe"

This year, I decided to buy locally-made products as far as possible. (Or second-hand, but more about that in another post – coming soon!)

It’s been quite a fun exercise so far, as I’ve discovered all sorts of designers, brands and shops I hadn’t known about before.

At the moment, I’m searching for a weekend bag. My old faithful has pretty much fallen apart, leaving me a choice between my proper travel backpack and one of my myriad little rucksacks or tote bags. The former is just a little too big, while the others are slightly too small for weekends away.

So, really, I’m looking for the baby bear’s porridge here.

I did some research into locally-made bags and found there’s actually quite a pleasing variety. I haven’t decided on what to buy yet, but will probably go for something mid-price-range, duffel rather than backpack and non-leather.

Here are seven brands worth checking out:

Continue Reading "Buy local: 7 Proudly South African luggage brands"