The Beautiful Rolling Hills Of Tuscany

When looking through Tomasz Wieczorek’s beautiful photographs of Tuscany, Italy, can you imagine that such a place is real? The rolling hills, old farmhouses and silver olive groves were something that Tomasz has wanted to photograph after he had heard that it is one of the most beautiful places out there.

Tomasz decided to sit through every sunrise and sunset over his time in Italy to get the perfect photographs and although it was tiring, it was worth it. The beauty of the Tuscan landscapes drew him in like a magnet. Tomasz adds that the weather was perfect which was a huge bonus for his photography. He recommends anyone to visit Tuscany as he has very fond memories of the place.

I must say his photographs turned out to be amazing. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Tuscany myself, and it really does look like it does in his photos. It is a place that makes you feel at peace and really makes you appreciate life; it is a must-see!

For some more information on Tomasz and his beautiful photographs, visit his Facebook page.  

Images: Tomasz Wieczorek
Source: Bored Panda

Five visa-free countries for South Africans to visit


This beautiful country, otherwise known as the emerald isle, is a real gem. Although there are quite a few rainy days, the rest definitely makes up for it! The people are warm and friendly, the food is amazing and Ireland’s natural wonders are a must see. Dublin is an amazing city with a great vibe; enjoy it with a pint of Guinness! 

New Zealand

This amazing country is far to travel to, but so worth it! New Zealand has everything from beaches to mountains to sunshine and snow, so it has a little something for everyone. Possibly the coolest attraction is Hobbiton, where parts of the movies The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were made. 


Think sun, sand and cocktails! When you imagine a beach holiday, Thailand is definitely one of the destinations that come to mind. With its tropical feel, markets, amazing ocean and many beaches; this is a great place to visit for that much needed getaway. 


This colourful and vibrant country is a big attraction to many people each year! A must-see in this country is the Christ the Redeemer statue, and a must-do is one of the many colourful festivals. Football fans will feel at home as the sport is very popular here! 


This island lies just off of Malaysia and has a tropical climate. It is great for shopping; whether high street or markets and customer service here is excellent. Clean streets, friendly people and shopping; what more do you need?

I think it's time for my next holiday! 
Source: Buzz South Africa

Image Sources:

New Zealand- Break in the clouds by tom_hall_nz

Thailand- Longtail Boats by hadsie

Singapore- View of Singapore City Skyline From Esplanade by edwin11

Ireland- Ireland by autumnal-fires

Brazil- Christ Redeemer by justonemoreshot


A Hello Pretty road trip, first stop Swellendam and Rain Africa

We’ve just taken an epic road trip from Cape Town, up the Garden Route and over to Durban (where we’re based for two weeks). Then we’ll be driving back down again, which allows us to spend some time with the special people who make the magic happen on our site.

Our first stop was in Swellendam, about 3 hours from Cape Town. It was late at night when we arrived and we did so in rather an unprepared state. I used the Kayak app on my phone and booked the place that had the best reviews - a small hotel called Arumvale. The decor was gorgeous and tasteful, and the hospitality shown to us by the owners was honestly some of the best we’ve experienced anywhere we’ve been, in spite of our last-minute booking.

The following morning, the owner was seeing us off and asked what we had planned for the day. I mentioned that on our drive in I’d seen that Rain was in town, and that I planned to go see if I could meet the owner because they were going to be selling on Hello Pretty. Bizarrely and coincidentally it turned out that our host at Arumvale was in fact married to the owner of Rain.

We took a short drive over to the shop, and I will be telling every person I know that they have to visit Swellendam and go to this shop and spa. I had expected the shop to be cool, based on their branch in the V&A Waterfront, but I had had no idea of what a gorgeous space we were about to walk into.

The shop is bright and airy. And, of course, it smells a treat. I’d planned to buy a little soap or two, but we walked out of there a few hours later (sorry Scott!) feeling blissed out and with three bags of beautiful things and many photographs.

Besides all their own products, the shop also carries ranges by other local design talent (one of my favourites being Mud Studio’s ceramics).

Something you should know about Rain Africa is their kindness. All ingredients are natural, animal-and-earth-friendly and hand-harvested (as opposed to being farmed), and the company seeks to provide a living to the small communities around where they’re produced.
In both the shop and the spa, all of the staff had no shortage of smiles for us and were passionate about the business and what it stood for.

The Rain Forest Spa
I’d already planned to visit a spa before we even got into Swellendam and discovered Rain Forest, so it was a very lucky find (thank you to my awesome in-laws for giving me this as a birthday present!). I had a 1-hour foot massage and left feeling like a new person.

To get to the spa, enter the Rain shop and the assistant will show you to a small passage way.
It has dim mood lighting (where the mood is relaxed!) and a foresty decor vibe, with lots of running water. The treatment rooms follow the same theme, with soft lighting, wood, and forest features.
The recurrent decor element is a succulent plant, and they have done such a tasteful job to create this unique and serene space. Trust me when I say that you want to visit this place.

Every one of the staff in Rain Forest were friendly and warm, and gave the impression that they were there by choice and not only because they had to be. After my treatment, the lady manning the front desk gave me a solid run down of how Rain creates it products, and about the communities it supports and ways that the company is innovating, as well as a few samples to try. They’re still in my bag as I’d like to share them with Adeline when she gets to Durban later this week but I have some high hopes based on my in-store tests.

I’m sure it sounds like I’m being paid to say all these things but I promise I’m not. This turned out to be a real highlight on our trip and I suggest that those who are considering a refreshing weekend away consider Swellendam as an option. We will most definitely be stopping back in here on our way back to Cape Town.
Of the wealth of talented people selling their creations on Hello Pretty, we’ve only had the privilege of meeting a drop in the bucket in person. Being an online business, there isn’t an urgent need for this but we really enjoy getting to hang out with our designers and make an effort to whenever we’re able.

You don’t have to look far to appreciate the quality of South Africa’s design talent, and we’re working with the cream of the crop. We’ve met some wonderful people so far, and we’re looking forward to meeting more of you.

August 2017 update: we've just learned of a really fantastic site with lots of good things to know about Swellendam. You should go have a look for sure :)

Pantone suitcases for you to lust after

My wanderlust has been going into overdrive recently, and I’ve been pinning to our travel board like mad - the only thing that makes me sadder than ticket prices and my bank balance though, is the state of my luggage.  Sad looking, wobbly wheels, broken handles and worn edges don’t exactly communicate design lover, you know?

Enter Pantone!  I want aaaall of their goodies, but for the mission at hand, my lust for pretty suitcases has been well and truly activated.  Hello Pantone Carry Case!  This 29 litre awesome-filled capacity has shot to the top of my wish list.  You have fifteen colours to choose from, and can get one of your own at the Nano Universe Online Shop for ¥16 800

I’ll take it in pink, thanks.  Or turquoise.  Or yellow.

*first spotted over here.

Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson

As a serious book fanatic, I window shop on Kalahari and Amazon when I can’t sleep.  My wishlist runs into the thousands, and I know that one day I will have to design my home around my books, and find a very patient and resilient cleaning lady that doesn’t mind all the dusting.  And as a book purist, I am devoted to hard copies, as opposed to e-readers.

That, combined with my fervent wanderlust, secret romantic inclinations and love of beautiful things, makes this book PERFECT for me.  (My birthday is in October. *hint hint)  “Paris in Color” by Nichole Robertson is a beautiful collection of colour coordinated photograph’s of Parisian details.

The book came about as a result of a happy accident - her photography and blogging hobbies took a turn when she took a few photos of similarly coloured environments, and it quickly became an obsession.  And on sharing her obsession, others also quickly became obsessed.  Part of the appeal lay in the fact that it wasn’t the over-glamourized version of Paris - “I didn’t want the Versace-on-the-red-carpet version of Paris, I wanted the Converse and t-shirt Paris.”

Soooo… while you’re getting a copy for yourself over here, feel free to order a second copy for little ol’ me.  I can be reached at the offices!

Hotel O in Paris

I’m a sucker for unique, contemporary-design boutique hotels. We’re going to Paris for a few days in November and on my laughable quest to find such a place that is both centrally-located and reasonably priced I found Hotel O. That it fits into the categories I was looking for is up for debate, but it cannot be argued that this is a hot-looking hotel. I specifically like the lighting details.


For those who care to know, the rooms start at 145 euros per night, and the hotel is a short walk from the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries.

And don’t say we didn’t warn you: the rooms are small, and the bathroom is pretty well inside the bedroom. My significant other and I stayed in such a place in New York and the bathroom / bedroom situation was… well, surprising. So best you’re comfortable with your bunk-buddy!


There’s a group of anonymous artists in Madrid whose goal is to show up things within the city that need fixing or simply some attention using “light intteruptions”. They’re called Luzinterruptus and I read about them on This Is Colossal.

I am all down with art-based awareness campaigns and the sculptures that these artists have created are stunners. I think my favourite is the one with the light flowing out of the fire hydrant.

This is a quote from the Luzinterruptus website, also quoted on the This Is Colossal post:

We began to act on the streets of Madrid at the end of 2008 with had the simple idea of focusing people´s attention by using light on problems that we found in the city and that seem to go unnoticed to the authorities and citizens. But everything that we do does not have a subversive aim. Sometimes we simply want to embellish, or to highlight anonymous places or corners that seem special or objects to which we think extraordinary artistic value, although they have been left on the streets for unknown seasons, with artistic intention, by anonymous people.

La Maison Champs Élysées

I’m subscribed to a fantastic newsletter called Jetsetter. It’s made by the same people who do Jetsetter is their travel division and they find and review the cream of the crop of hotels.

A little while ago they featured the unbelievably gorgeous La Maison Champs Élysées in Paris. The hotel is minimally decorated and the rooms are all in white, and then in contrast to that there is the dramatic Cigar Lounge, all in charcoal and black.

17 of the 57 rooms are designed by Maison Margiela, and they also did the restaurant, reception, cigar lounge and bar.

And if you manage to peel yourself out of this exquisite hotel you’re in for a treat because it is situated right in the heart of Paris’ Golden Triangle, a shopping hot spot.

Don’t know about you but I think I’m going to be dusting off my old piggy bank so that I can pay this place a visit!

An Ode to Old Japan

One of the Hello Pretty team, Justin, left Cape Town yesterday for a blissful 2 week break in Japan. So instead of writing about how bitterly jealous I am, sitting here in these foggy overcast conditions, I’m posting some vintage Japan snaps from the Flickr Commons.

  1. Woman with mirrors, taken in 1890.
  2. Home Learning to play a harp-like instrument.
  3. Playing the samisen which is a 3-stringed guitar.
  4. A doctor and his patient. Taken between 1867 and 1869. Is that a sword poking out from under his cape? Not sure I would like being treated under those conditions.

This one’s a little more modern (from 1966), but I loved it and had to include it. Japanese Origami, photographed in 1966.

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