Durban

We give pretty gifts too...

I recently waxed lyrical about Kelly from Sunflowers and Spears’s #bloggersecretsanta, and our fab gift from citygirlsearching’s Roxy. But I do have to blow our own horn a little too! Before I had any idea of the amazingness that was on it’s way to us from Roxy, I was more excited to send our gift than receive one - it was so much fun sourcing all the goodies, and I even knuckled down and did a spot of DIY (you can take my word for the fact that I’m no Martha Stewart, and that as a result you should all be impressed).

I decided to do a yellow and gold themed gift, and scoured the site for small but lovely and useful items to include. After finally narrowing down my gigantic list of potential gifts, I settled on these:

A paper plane brooch by Landi Kuhn
A set of button clips by Bow Peep (not strictly part of the colour scheme, but adorable none the less)
A set of gold reindeer vinyl stickers by Match Set Love
And a voucher for the lucky lady to pick out something from Hello Pretty for herself.

A paper plane brooch by Landi Kuhn
A set of button clips by Bow Peep (not strictly part of the colour scheme, but adorable none the less)
A set of gold reindeer vinyl stickers by Match Set Love
And a voucher for the lucky lady to pick out something from Hello Pretty for herself

Inspired by Lovilee’s “Christmas in a Bottle,” I grabbed a sweet customised Consol jar that I bought at iheartmarket (and made by Sk8shade’s lovely mom), and jazzed it up with a lick of gold spray paint. I quickly became addicted and spray painted everything else, myself and parts of my dog too.

Our recipient is the very gorgeous mom-to-be Samantha, from everythingsamanthahearts, and since soon she will be gifted with a bouncing baby girl, I threw in a cupcake flavoured Yankee Candle for a few moments of indulgent “me-time” every now and then in between the new baby madness. (For all their many many pros, rumour has it newborns don’t sleep much. Mom deserves a candlelit bubble bath every now and then while Dad babysits!)

After a while spent dealing with nail destroying post office anxiety, the glitter and polka dot Christmas box eventually arrived, and I am so happy to report that Samantha loved it. All of us at Hello Pretty wish you the most wonderful Christmas and you have our most heartfelt congrats on the pending new addition to your family. We hope the arrival of baby Olive is the first happening in a long line of other great things that make 2014 your best year yet.

Kisses!

Pretty Mexican

Ai Chihuahua!

Now Pretties, as you all know we’re into great design here at HP HQ.  And even more into great branding.  And even more into great pink branding.  You get the idea.

So it should come as no surprise that the recent Chihuahua Mexicatessan pop up restaurant in Durban ticked all the right boxes.  Armed with sombreros and greeted by Señor El Jimador himself, we knew that this joint was going to give us the Christmas party we needed (and felt we deserved) - we love our jobs with all of our little hearts, but the internet never sleeps (and if it did we’d be pretty screwed), so we just get a little tired sometimes.  Our solution? Take our dilemma to an awesome venue and dissolve it in tequila until we can walk away feeling re-inspired.

With the faux grass flooring I was awfully tempted to just wing it barefoot, but I managed to reign myself in for the sake of my coworkers. (It was tough guys. I’m just a farm girl from Bloem on the inside.) We were handed a gigantic bowl of nachos and guacamole, and settled in amongst the chock-full restaurant’s other patrons - it was pretty festive all around, and I found myself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Skullboy, Miss Molly and Sol-Sol.  Clearly the place to see and be seen, no? (I had just cut off all of my hair - I totally wanted to be seen.)

So while this post veers somewhat drastically off our usual blog topics, it is relevant, I promise.  The brain child of foodie genius Neil Roake, who has also been responsible for the original Craft Trattoria, Freedom Cafe, The Concierge Hotel and Larneys, Chihuahua Mexicatessan showed off SA talent at its best - both in the design and in the kitchen.  It quickly became a hub of awesomeness for talented Durban creatives, making it the ideal place to get our creative juices kickstarted again.

We had pulled pork, nachos, Coronas and churros until our waiter had to kindly and gently nudge our round bodies out of the door like (the collective noun for) slightly unruly yoga balls many hours later.  All in all it was a great experience that brought out the luchador in us! It left us feeling refreshed, and excited for what 2014 will bring.  We’re an awesome team that’s become like family, and sometimes just to spend some quality, non-work time together is a great reminder of that.

So thanks y’all, we heart you the most.

Love affair with black gold: my #seedtocup tasting experience at Factory Cafe

It all started with a plan hatched by a fellow blogger, to smuggle me into an event…

With a history of being teachers pet, the plan wracked me with guilt until I came clean, and worked up the courage to just ask, hey, you guys are cool and I like you - can I come to your event?

Naturally my fears were unfounded.  The lovely people at Colombo andThe Factory Cafe welcomed me with big smiles and open arms, and I found myself rummaging through my closet early last Saturday morning - what does one wear to a coffee tasting filled with super trendy bloggers?

I arrived at The Factory Cafe (best coffee in town, and I’m not just saying that because they invited me to their party) and immediately spotted the bloggers - gorgeous swanky cameras littered the table, and made me swear to myself that my next purchase would be a proper camera!  After introductions were over, everyone settled into an easy chatter, as though we had all known each other for ages.

When Arno, Colombo’s resident coffee aficionado, tried to get us to all settle down and take a seat, I have a feeling that he may have been able to compare it to herding cats - so many fabulous people! And fabulous conversations and pretty things to Instagram! (The Factory Cafe is exceptionally instagramable.  Also, if you didn’t Instagram that coffee, did you even really have it?)  Eventually we tore ourselves away from the banter to focus on Arno, and that turned out to be an exceptionally good decision. This guy.  He knows his stuff, and his passion for coffee is contagious.  He introduced us to Dan, who took over while Arno got to work grinding coffee beans - Dan explained the origins of coffee (from #seedtocup) while the coffee aromas swirled around us, making us feel like those old cartoon characters that got lifted off their feet and floated towards the delicious oversized lamb chop.

Dan told us about where coffee was grown and the most suitable climates for it to thrive in, (known as the “Coffee Belt” - that’s an accessory I can completely get behind) the planting process and different types of harvesting.  The point that stuck with me the most, and impressed me to no end, is Colombo’s commitment to sustainable harvesting.  Not only that, but their support for farms that give back to their communities.  The folks at Colombo have hearts you guys, and they’re pretty much golden.

After timing it just right, we used spoons to crack through the grounds that had raised to the top of the glass, and sniffed away while swirling it around three times.  Again the smell of the coffee changed – it’s kind of amazing to notice the progression of the coffee in such a short time. Arno gave us a particularly useful nugget of information at this point – “Don’t burn your nose.  That’s never cool.”

This is when things got really fun.  Note that the coffee is particularly concentrated at this point, and we got to taste it.  Queue central nervous system hyperdrive!  After removing the froth from the top of the coffee, you have to slurp it as hard as you can from your spoon, so that it sprays over every part of your mouth.  I learnt something about myself then – after only drinking coffee for a year, it turns out that I really enjoy super strong coffee.

And then they plied us with more coffee and food and gave us treats!  We all left with tummies full of the best ciabatta sandwiches and I had my first ever flat white (You can all call me a proper hipster now, thanks), as well as a goodie bag with some coffee to take home, cute stationery and the best biscotti (that lasted for about five minutes).

 

I had such a great time, and am really glad that I was able to go – so many many thanks to Factory Cafe for having me, and for a great event.  I have this philosophy that unless you teach me something or make me smile, I probably won’t follow you.  The Factory Cafe and Colombo provided both smiles and knowledge in spades.  So if you’re in town, you should DEFINITELY get in on the action – they endeavor to provide coffee that’s so good that it doesn’t need to be altered by milk and sugar, and they’re putting on repeat performances free and gratis every Friday afternoon at 3pm.  To get involved, pop Arno an email at arno@colombo.co.za to book your spot.

You can also show them some online love by checking out The Factory Cafe’s websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram, as well as Colombo’s site,FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Coffee for everyone!

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