A visit to the Marie Claire Beauty Playground in Jozi

We were invited to the Marie Claire Beauty Playground in Braamfontein in Johannesburg last year. Maybe because we are sometimes fancy (have you seen us when we're out of our PJs??) -- I'm not sure but that's what I'm putting it down to.

It was filled with beautiful people, and beautiful products. We were greeted at the entrance by this ridiculously good-looking foursome which felt briefly intimidating, until we'd slugged down the glass of JC Le Roux Method Cap Classic (the good stuff - and it was good) that they handed us. Marie Claire is fancy that way.

The event was held in a gorgeous, large and bright open space in Braamfrontein in Jozi, with floor-to-ceiling sweeping views of the city. There were a range of things for all budgets within the show and I made a point to stop in at each and every booth.

First stop was, of course, the A Ring To It stand. It never disappoints and because I am a sucker for rings and unable to control myself, I left with one.

A Ring To It's neighbours to the left were Vintage Zionist. We met the two owners and this is a brand that I hadn't heard about before but am really freaking excited about. Keep on the lookout for this one, they're almost certain to get huge soon. Two hip guys with superb taste, in the business of upcycled fashion. They source and upcycle high quality leather and make leather jackts (and some other things I think? I was mesmerised by the jackets.) They're young and they're unique, and can be headed nowhere but up. Get on it before you can't afford it anymore when people like Rihanna are buying them.

The show also had an OPI stand with nail polishes in every shade, to make your heart race a little.

There was the Moroccan Hair stand (yes.. I left with 1.5 litres of hair products. Don't judge.), Vogue eyewear (who were doing a mini photoshoot of everyone who tried on a apair of glasses), and Optiphi facial products (which have won awards, and I tested and they were good).

A new discovery for me is a brand called Harrison Lee & Co. They do hand-crafted leather things, and they're beautiful ones. A unique and fabulous product in their range is a gorgeous leather pouch for your makeup brushes.

Inglot had a makeover service. I was keen to get in there, but unsurprisingly it was popular and had a queue to heck and gone. So I just took photos of these other two pretty gals getting made up.

Last stand on my travels through the Marie Claire Beauty Playground show was the Karen Murrel stall, who had top quality cosmetic products. I hadn't heard of them before and I was very pleased to discover them. If you happen to stop them, try them out and then email me to say thanks ;)

Next time Marie Claire holds one of these events in Jozi I can't recommend enough that you head over and spend a couple of hours browsing, being pampered and perhaps shopping.

Win with RYO Coffee and Hello Pretty - CLOSED

In case you missed it, RYO Coffee paid us a visit last week and showed us how to roast coffee on our own stovetops, in a wok.

It's gutsy, and take it from us, you're going to end up making some bad-a$$ coffee this way.

As a follow-up, she's giving us a bag of 300g RYO Blend Raw Coffee Beans, and a Manual Burr Grinder, worth R510 together, to give to you.

To enter:

  • Leave a comment here and tell us what your favourite coffee drink is.
  • Like RYO Coffee on Facebook.
  • Get an extra entry by tweeting @HelloPrettySA and letting us know in the comments below.


Entries close at 10am on Friday 27th February. Hello Pretty's standard competition Ts and Cs apply.

Only one entry per channel will be counted.

Hexagon madness with Hello Pretty!

Pretty chocolates

Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on

I spotted these lovely, tasty looking bits of chocolatey goodness on the interwebz last week, and felt that it was compulsory to share: Chocolates That Represent Japanese Onomatopoeic Words To Describe Texture. I mean. Just look at them.


Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on

'There are many factors that determine our experience with chocolate: the type of cocoa, the percentage used, and the flavors. But when Maison et Objet, the pre-eminent design show in France, told Oki Sato that they were naming him Designer Of The Year and asked him to design a set of chocolates, he had to pause. The head of the Tokyo and Milan-based design studio Nendo needed to rethink the concept of chocolate.

Nendo has created “Chocolatexture,” a series of 9 chocolates, all the same size, but each representing a Japanese onomatopoeic word that describes texture.
“The 9 different types of chocolate are made within the same size, 26x26x26mm, featuring pointed tips, hollow interiors, smooth or rough surface textures,” says Sato. “And while the raw materials are identical, the distinctive textures create different tastes.”'

Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on
Pretty chocolates on spo

Delicious as well as beautiful? I am definitely in favour of that idea!


My very own Painting for Ants by Lorraine Loots

In case you've been snoozing and not heard of Lorraine Loot's 365 Paintings for Ants project for 2013, she explains it on her website. In a nutshell, every day for the full year of 2013 Lorraine painted a miniature painting about the size of a coin. You could book a painting, and when you did you got to pick what you wanted  to be of. And her work is consistently mindblowing and gorgeous and incredible.

They arrive beautifully framed. It's a bit difficult to take a photo because of the glass in the front of the frame, but I made an attempt. This is mine:

She has since developed the project into a postcard collection (365 Postcards for Ants) . You can see an archive of all her paintings from the 2013 project over here:

Thank you Lee (and Lorraine), I'm so proud of my artwork.

Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

Photographic duo Riz & Resh are long time friends and favourites of ours - they recently made us look fancy in our own little photo shoot, and we've had the likes of A Ring To It and Bow Peep turn to them for product photography. Bottom line is, they have mad skillz.

And to our delight, they've joined us as Hello Pretty sellers! They're selling product photography packages that are pretty darn great, and we felt that they deserved to be on the other side of the lense for a change.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

  1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.

    The Dollie House is the home to Riz and Resh Dollie.  We're both simple beings who find great pleasure in food and greenery (not the bushy kind you're thinking of).

    Resh is a quiet individual with a vision of living clean and building a sustainable existence for his family.  He is the eldest of five brothers and is an avid yogi with an honours in Anthropology.  He is also the prettier member of The Dollie House. 

    Riz has a great passion for people and Instagramming meals.  Riz has worked in every sphere of media and has been messing around with cameras for over ten years. Riz's students gave her a pet name; B.B.D. (we will leave this open to your interpretation).

    We both travel as often as possible and feel as that it's an essential part of the growth of a person.

  2. How/why did the Dollie House?

    The Dollie House was the love child born from our shared passion for visual pleasure.  We both hail from art backgrounds and chose to focus on the anthropology of people and their memories.  We're both fascinated by human behaviour and observation, and photography was a good way for us to express what we saw and experienced through sharing brief passionate moments of peoples' lives.

  3. What do you love?

    We both thrive in any natural environment and have a keen affinity to aesthetics of the visual kind.  We love pretty things, appreciating good food and reading as often as possible  

    Riz loves talking and Resh enjoys silent conversations.  Resh loves cooking and Riz loves eating. We love constant change, hence the choice to grow The Dollie House.

  4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things the Dollie House makes/does?

    We offer a range of lifestyle photography packages and visual styling for shoots and interiors.  Riz focuses on events, family, portrait, maternity and wedding photography.  Resh thrives in making things pleasurable for the eye and desirable for the soul; he spends his time styling shoots and visually merchandising store windows.

  5. Tell us something unusual about you/your trade/etc that people generally don't know.

    We shoot weddings most weekends and because we're so passionate about our jobs, we often become family confidants for the day.  After a few hours with a client's family, we often feel like we're a part of the family.  People always feel the need to share their family histories with you.

    We both love visual storytelling, and voluntary information usually helps strengthen the visual depth of the photographs.

 Pretty Personal with Riz & Resh of the Dollie House

These beautiful shots by Ronél Kruger Photography.

Pretty Personal with Cecile from Ménagerie

Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie


1. Hello! Tell us a little about yourself.
I come from a graphic design / film industry creative background. A while after my daughter was born I realised I just couldn't keep up the hectic hours that the film industry demands, and there is something about having kids that makes you want to do something that feels more authentic and worthy. I have a lifelong interest in handmade stuff, and since the craft movement has had such a revival I started a small but very beautiful handmade goods market (once per month) in Stellenbosch called The Treasury Market (it ran for 2 years but I now only do pop-up markets). I met so many wonderful people through the market, and was itching to do something myself and so Ménagerie was born. 


2. How / why Menagerie?
Ménagerie is an English word that was used to describe any collection of exotic animals that pre-dated the existence of zoos. It is now also used to describe an odd or eclectic assortment of things, which I thought was quite apt for my animal cushions. I like the name because it is derived from the French word 'ménage' meaning household, and mine is very important to me. Not to be confused with 'ménage à trois' though ;)


3. What do you love?
My kids, aged 5 and 2, inspire me every day. They are so unselfconsciously creative, and prove that it is still possible to do original things, something one often forgets in our pinterest/internet dominated world. I also just love living in Cape Town, visiting our many excellent markets (like the Milnerton market for finding aged treasures) and making use of our easy access to nature. I have a love/hate relationship with the interweb, I love keeping up to date with shifting trends but I feel one has to cut yourself off too so you are not too influenced by it. I am also very inspired by some local makers who have managed to build up some beautiful brands!

Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie

4. Can you tell us about the wonderful things Menagerie makes?
Menagerie makes a range of cushions that are silkscreened by hand on natural cotton. For the animal cushions I start with a photo that has some charm (for which I buy an extended license so I can use it for items for resale) and then I do some extensive photoshopping on it to enhance the charm and change it into a modern looking bitmap image. I am now starting to bring out some more colourful items and am especially excited about a screen printed doll I am designing. 


5. Tell us something unusual about you / your trade / etc that people generally don't know.
Once my daughter, aged 4, snuck upstairs into my studio, where she is not really allowed in office hours, and this conversation happened:
  She: "Mommy, what are you doooiiing?"
  Me: "I am sewing."
  She: "Whyyy?"
  Me (a bit irritated since I was trying to finish something): "So I can make money so we can buy things."
  She (looking at me dumbfounded): "But mommy, you aren't making money, you're making cushions!" 
Lol, until I figure out how to just make the money, I will just have to keep making cushions!


Pretty Personal with Cecile of the Menagerie


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