*Usher Voice *: This is part 2 (and the last post of the year). I’m sharing the things that kept my joy afloat in these murky 2021 waters, it’s also an amalgamation of my favourite things. It’s both plug and light: a reminder that the #QuestForBeauty is attainable even in the darkest of times.
The link to Part 1. Also features: #Travelbug (I’m occasionally a travel blog), #NtoetsesFavouriteThings #WomenIveNeverMetWhoMoveMe. Enjoy!
My favourite thing about writing these is that I always worry that I won’t have enough to write about in order to justify a whole entire post and I surprise myself by having to split the post in two. This alone makes me so happy! Lets dive right back in.
TOP 10 Social Media: this is mostly YouTube channels and Instagram accounts
1. CinemaWins: is a YouTube Channel that combs through your favourite (and not so favourite) movies frame for frame for merit. He clearly adores cinema, is unpretentious and gives so much heart and insight and detail. It’s almost a love letter to filmmakers, he’s basically like “yes, I saw what you did there” and goddammit we all deserve to see good positive things, there are enough critics on the Internet. Look at his detailed love fest of one of my favourite movies of all time. He makes you take a second look.
2. Movies with Mikey: copy and paste of what I just said about CinemaWins. But also, he’s an unbelievably talented video essayist and his movie edits are quite simply magical. In preparation for the Harry Potter 20th anniversary special coming next Jan: please watch his meditation trilogy on the franchise.
3. @AsToldByTiffany: Tiffany Lekuku is a gorgeous woman (it’s enough to follow her just for that) who I initially followed because of her beautiful garden. I love the way she moves through the world. She has a calming energy but she’s also stylish, intentional, romantic and grounded. An absolute delight to follow. If you don’t already, please do.
4. Audrey Coyne: Audrey is a lady who pays meticulous attention to detail and has helped me hone in on my personal style journey. She’s stylish, soft spoken (many love her voice), well-researched, her videos are short and helpful and she introduced me to the Kibbe System and the romance of intentional dressing. Here’s one of her lovely colour videos.
5. @Gophari: Fari is the OG South African travel plug. I’ve followed her for years, but this year when we had no choice but to take a Shot’Left, she has been an invaluable resource for ideas and inspiration. We love you and see you girl, please don’t stop what you’re doing!
6. Justine Leconte: this lovely French fashion designer is an excellent guide to fashion history and practicality. Her French Fashion series, her approach to sustainability and literal hands on tips for assessing good quality items is Unmatched. Here are two great examples examples on the fashion and history fronts. Also see her colour series. Thank me later.
7. @ThickLeeyonce: Lesego’s journey has been a joy to watch. I first followed her on Instagram a few years back then much later on YouTube. She has turned her YouTube channel from an ‘influencer’ space into a personal meditation on finding joy, being honest and loving yourself and what you do. Its an honest and beautiful space and it’s unlike anything else out there in terms of content and intention.
8. Dear Shandy: my top 5 fav from last year, Sharleen Joynt and her equally beautiful silver fox of a husband Andy, have a podcast. But they really GOATed with this particular episode of podcast gold called: Breakup Bootcamp Rewiring Your Heart. It’s not what you think its going to be because trust me, with a title like that, I’d pass it in a store if it were a book (it incudes sound science and some awesome practical tips and insights) and it might be the kick you need. Just a taste: you don’t get off heroine by taking smaller doses of heroine, you get off it by stopping it completely. Withdrawal included. You’re welcome in advanced.
9. Buhle Myatula: if your beautiful next door neighbour made vlogs. She is raw, natural and finding her way. She shows us her pockets of joy alongside her sadness and her vulnerability is a gift. Please check her out!
10. Yagazi Emezie’s Monday Instagram stories: her weekly compilation of Tik Tok’s is delightful, random, wide ranging and an antidote to the Monday blues. She’s also a talented Nigerian creative and photographer in general so, all round a worthwhile follow.
Favourite places, spaces and trips/#Travelbug: Local Edition
1. My grandmother’s house: Lesotho is a trip. If I’m seeing cows regularly, laughing at chickens, picking or cutting spinach and/or playing cards and drinking tea with my favourite human on earth, my heart is full. 2019 was too long ago so seeing her again was magical.
2. West Coast Wildflowers aka #RockingTheDaisiesDressRehearsal: I planned to see the wildflowers every year i lived in the Western Cape and the timing never lined up. A carpet of wildflowers is magical. Nature’s secret, God’s annual gift (I often put the phone down in frustration because the beauty was not translating at all) . It was such a spectacular weekend. Beyoncé’s Homecoming was spectacular background music. . We stayed in Langebaan and trekked to Paternoster for a foodie haven experience like no other for dinner. The famous Wolfgat was fully booked but the place we ended up (The Gaaitjie) was spectacular as well (they really is keyword: everything was a spectacle). Also, inspired the second reel I ever made! 11/10 would totally recommned. Cc: visit the Darling Brewery on your way back home.
3. My home: a safe safe space that belongs entirely to me. As a first born African daughter, I highly recommend this luxury to you all. I don’t care if you’re the queen of vat en sit, everybody deserves to experience the deliciousness of their own space at least once in their lifetime. Rent, buy, whatever works for you.
4. Franchsoek aka #SprankelTannies takeover: seeing my friends at the time I needed them most was its own gift but seeing them on a road trip to the picturesque little town and aboard the genius Winetram: Quality Booze + great food + friendship + views + no driving. Homemade fireplaces, laughter and snacks. It rained and we didnt care, we danced in the rain too. I have one word: Sprankel. Also, responsible for my first ever reel.
5. Brahman Hills: quite possibly one of my favourite places ever. If the gorgeous Spa (which also has the best bath salts I’ve ever come across) isn’t enough, the setting is spectacularly gorgeous: rolling green Midlands magic. The restaurant is top tier and then you step OUTSIDE! A farm made of dreams I tell you. And I have to ask again: does Mrs Brahman Hills have a son? Is he married? Can his wife fight?
6. Isimangaliso Wetland Park: I trekked up Northern KZN towards the Mozambican border and encountered beauty for beauty’s sake. I drove through wildlife to the most gorgeous hidden beach. For those who have fallen for the Hippo PR machine (they’re essentially murderous sea cows) there is plenty of opportunity to see them too. My final destination was Manguzi. I stayed at the Kosi Lodge where I had the surreal experience of singing along to Britney Spears and Westlife with my Zulu gentleman guide on the way to the Raffia palm forest. I ended the trip with a fabulous dinner catching up with an old friend (Rob also took me on an adventure!) drinking fantastic wine and having had quite possibly the best pina colada of all time.
7. The Barn Owl: the most beautiful restaurant setting in the Midlands. Fight me.
8. The Central Drakensberg amphitheatre: I took my broken hearted self there because you can’t be climbing a mountain like the Drakensberg and be thinking about a boy. It’s low-key impossible. Fun Fact: I found out I passed the DCH on that mountain and got lost within earshot of a mighty roaring Waterfall (which I happened to have been looking for). It’s an awesome weekend trip and was a much-needed injection of fun (it was the off season for water sports but I still squeezed in some some quad biking and baked goods). This one includes a list of places to go with an associated review.
8.1. First stay: Bingelela. A girl needed to drink and not drive so thats how this choice was made. Fancy accommodation people need not apply (excellent food and clean safe accommodation).
8.2 Second stay: Rose Cottage in Winterton. I booked the jacuzzi-having room and realised that I’d never been in a jacuzzi (I listened to A Seat at The Table, read Gabrielle Union while the bubbles literally swirled around me: delightful!) . Well-located, Excellent service, lodgings and value for money (I’d go again in a heartbeat)
8.3. Hike: The Royal Natal National Park. I wish you more luck than I had finding the Gudu falls. I heard them at least and found other cool things. Stop at the tower of pizza on your way home. You deserve it!
8.4. Visit also: The Valley Bakery, the Champagne Valley Bistro for the loveliest Sunday Lunch package you’ve had in a while and the brewery next door! I really didn’t appreciate the attitude of the 4River adventure owners (their staff were lovely at least) for your adventure activity needs.
9. Underberg (technically also the Drakensberg): sweet beautiful and I stayed at Lake Naverone which is a well run, well placed delight. I rode horses, hiked to beautiful pools of mountain water, sailed the lake and, thanks to the lack of cell service, unplugged. Highly recommended weekend getaway if you actually want to get away.
Honorable mention to My visitors: Chiko, Moosa, Nathina, Mum and Naleli, The Mboyi clan. Hosting and feeding and marketing with ya’ll was delightful (Shongweni Market is the undefeated KZN Market and I went more than 5 times during my short tenure in Pietermaritzburg).
Favourite purchases and subscriptions:
1. Rihanna’s book: its humongous, heavy and gorgeous. I’ve never seen a more photographic face and the quality of the images(!!!). Somehow these images of one of the most photographed women in the world are brand new. It’s a feast for the eyes and she has lived a thoroughly photo-book worthy life. Tied for Picture book of the year is my Hardcopy of Avatar The Last Airbender: The Search and my hardcover Biggie notebook. Because balance.
2. My Doc Martens: I’ve been wanting these shoes for a while and saved to buy a matching pair for me and my sister. I’m I’m enjoying how they push me to be daring and how they made me work for them by patiently breaking them in. Cc: groundcover leather sandals.
3. My camera: it’s a case of putting my money where my mouth is. I said this time is dedicated to putting my creative self first and I meant it. It’s something I’ve wanted for a while.
4. Liza Clifford bras: the most expensive and gorgeous bras I’ve ever owned. But my goodness is it worth it! The consultation gave me small powerful life changing tools. I thought I was wearing the right bra size (I’ve diligently been fitted in regular retail stores many times) but once your big girls have felt that Liza Clifford support, your other bras feel like inexperienced teenage boys fumbling uselessly offering little to no support support in comparison. A game changer. When I have money again, this is the only gift card I’ll be giving to my big-breasted friends. The sports bra is so good that I felt my tummy jiggle for the first time in my life (usually my chest is the jiggle winner). A game changer.
5. The Artists Way: I first bought this book in 2016 but have recently gotten back on the wagon. Its as much a spiritual course as it is a physical one. Please, even if you can’t “Art” worth a damn, this book is for you. Cc: The Celestine Prophecy.
6. Masterclass: so this one is tricky because the classes vary in quality and usefulness. There’s also what I call Netflix-syndrome where everything looks great but there’s too much to choose from and you end up avoiding it altogether. I recommend buying a class or two before committing to the full subscription but so far I’ve really enjoyed the classes I’ve taken.
7. Audible: it’s pricey and indulgent. But I’ve found that I really enjoy hearing people reading their own autobiographies themselves. It was also a lovely assist on my walks and long distance trips. I associate Michelle Obama’s voice with driving the areas surrounding QwaQwa and Barack’s voice with driving home at night from King Shaka to Pietermaritzburg. I enjoy the credit system and how quickly they offer the latest titles.
8. The most beautiful green dress I’ve ever seen. It looks like someone made it in the 70s with me in mind. I haven’t had an occasion to wear it yet but when I do you will never see the end of it. I got it at Kamersvol Market and it called to me from across the room. Tied for clothing item of the year are a pair of gorgeous fuschisa pink high wasted pants that I found as the last item on sale in my exact size and a pair of polka dot pants made just for me. Sometimes I’m God’s favourite.
9. A delightful mildly impractical leather cutout bag that I found at a market. It’s so beautiful that I clap with glee everytime I reach for it. Tied for Bag of The Year is my beautiful black cassette tape bag. It’s cooler than me (and I’m pretty cool).
1. @MAM: A Swedish jewelry company that makes the jewelry of my Pinterest dreams. Wait fir Black Friday because shipping and customs. I’m still enjoying the quality pieces that that I bought last year. Their Insta doesn’t do them justice. But I’m saying: prepare your coins because wow.
2.@WolfVintage: it’s best to follow them on Insta for updates. I’ve bought from them thrice and have never been let down. Love every single one of their pieces so far.
3. @HyggeHomeSA: their candles are beautiful and I’m currently using the other ones as art. See their Insta.
1. Fenty Killawatt freestyle Highlighter duo in Mimosa sunrise/Sangria sunset.
2. Those Louis vutton boots and the chanel classic two-tone slingbacks (you know which ones 😂) and that small beautiful black classic Chanel purse. I fully intend to get them for myself one day but I’d love for someone to beat me to it.
3. I’m going to wrap this wishlist up with my wishes for myself (and you!). I am reclaiming the wanderer in me now. In fact I’m reclaiming and rediscovering and owning So Many titles: Artist, writer, bookworm, daughter, sister, lover, farmer and friend. I want to pour back into my Artist and inner child by seeking that which challenges, heals and delights me. My current mantra is joy. I seek to come out of autopilot and taste and see the goodness and abundance of life again (or maybe for the first time ever?). I wish for romance (Lord knows I already romance myself), I seek a love that is full, joyous, delicious and warm. I want to giggle, shiver and know that I cherish and am in turn cherished and regarded warmly. We are leaving behind that which weighs us down both physically and metaphysically. I pray light into your lives and I wish it all comes true.
Issawrap Sunflowers (also: Rapt is such a stunning word BTW) . Go in joy and know that your survival of these last few years has been more than enough.