• Searching for the 600 in Balaclava

     “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;”                                                   …

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  • Xhosa beadwork inspired knitwear lights up Europe’s catwalks

    I first met Laduma Ngxokolo five years ago on Women’s Day at his stand at Decorex, a decor, design and lifestyle exhibition in Johannesburg.  I remember being struck by his openness, humility and his extraordinary talent.  I described him at the time as one of South Africa’s up-and-coming-close-to-arriving fashion industry talents.  This year 2016, he …

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  • Lubeck – of marzipan and war

    Lubeck, on Germany’s Baltic coast is a picture perfect medieval town – a UNESCO heritage site. Once the capital of the former Schleswig Holstein, an independent fiefdom, Lubeck formed part of the Hanseatic League, an alliance formed in medieval times to protect trade in Baltic waters but also to ward off pirates. The interdependence and trade …

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  • SS United States – a resurrection in the making?

    My first foray with six-star luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises was in 2012, when I accompanied two journalists on a 12-day “died-and-gone-to-heaven” voyage from Venice to the Black Sea. We were allocated penthouse suites and with them came Engin, our Turkish delight of a butler, who attended to our every whim with utmost decorum and …

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  • Paul Smith – adding a touch of wild to all present and correct

    What starts an intrigue with a brand? I can’t remember exactly what pricked my interest in Paul Smith – perhaps when my daughter’s English beau introduced his Paul Smith socks with their trade mark slim discrete barcode stripes and bright colours, or was it when Paul Smith first landed in South Africa and opened a …

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  • Bath Time!

    Reflections on a mother-daughter road trip! Any parent will tell you – it’s tough when your first child leaves the nest – tougher when you are joined at the hip, make regular appointments for a little retail therapy together or curl up to binge watch a favourite crime series – even tougher when her new …

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  • St. Petersburg – of Tsars and hustle in the streets

    Access to St Petersburg by ship from the Baltic is via the River Neva, which twists and turns through an archipelago of islands. Modern history and years of the cold war have shrouded Russia in mystery. When one thinks of St Petersburg, one immediately thinks of classic Italianate buildings and Tsarist excess, the architectural vision …

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  • Copenhagen – about a chair and a bubble glass window

    My relationship with Denmark (the Danes) began when I was three or four in then Salisbury, Rhodesia. There was a shop there that incredibly specialised in Danish furniture. It was the early 1960’s when Scandinavia represented the vanguard of furniture design at the time. I remember being carried alternatively by my mother dressed in white …

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  • Foraging for the origins of a nation’s foodie favourites

    During a week in May this year, my PR agency Pleiades Media was involved in the visit to South Africa by renowned Greek chef Nikolaos Fotiadis.  Thanks to an initiative by the Greek ambassador to South Africa, Ms. Maria Diamantopoulou, Fotiadis presented traditional and modern Greek cuisine to groups of diners in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape …

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  • Joe’s Sheet – flagging history in SA

    Carolyn Morrison is both artist and art teacher.  She is extraordinary at both.  I admired her painting entitled Joe’s Sheet for years, as various would be buyers laid claim to it.  By some serendipity, none of these sales ever materialised, and I purchased the painting over a period of months until finally it was mine.  It …

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