Tag Archives: firsts

My Top 5 Bars in Rome

10 Oct

5. Abbey Theatre

No matter where you go, you’re gonna need an Irish pub, right? Abbey Theatre is charming, with lots of smaller rooms linked by narrow corridors. The owner is friendly and fun [he called Nina a bossy cow while we were there and the name has stuck], there’s free wifi, they show major sports on their many TV screens, and basically it’s a go-to pub for a Guiness. Sit at the outside-facing counters for some great people-watching opportunities.

Via del Governo Vecchio 51

4. Bar del Fico

Bar del Fico is right across from Da Francesco and near Baguetteria del Fico, as the name suggests. It’s vibey and loud, perfect for a Saturday night out. It kind of reminded me of my student days in Stellenbosch- almost like Bohemia in Rome. The music is loud, the people are a mixed bag of fun and wild, and it’s the perfect spot to start of end a big Saturday night.

Via San Marcello 19

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3. Baguetteria del Fico

I mentioned the Baguetteria del Fico as one of my top five food experiences in Rome, but it’s great for a drink. Grab a craft beer and seat yourself on one of the wooden stools next to the old-school cars, and enjoy summer afternoons in Rome. Perfect.

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2. Birra del Borgo

I had hat hair and feet that felt like they were bleeding when I walked into Birra del Borgo. And the combination of great, friendly staff, cool music, and delicious beer made it all go away! It’s a cool, laid-back vibe, and I highly recommend you sit at the counter and have an Isaac Weiss beer in one of these fancy glasses. I really enjoyed Birra del Borgo and when we left I just wanted to stay, and hang out there all night, being chilled and drinking the most delicious beer. If I lived in Rome, I’d make this my spot to go to after a hectic day, or to start the weekend.

Via del Colle Rosso

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1. Anywhere

Honestly, the best place to enjoy a drink in Rome is anywhere. It’s legal to drink in public until 11pm every night, so your best bet is to grab a beer or a bottle of wine from a supermarket or deli, find a cool spot, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Rome in all its glory. Rome is so beautiful and vibrant, and I love the people, so I could spend hours sitting somewhere pretty and just taking it all in. I would recommend the Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain, or a walking drink: There is something mind-blowing around every corner in this city, so you’ll never tire of walking it!

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My Top 5 Food Experiences in Rome

2 Oct

I had heard good things about the food in Rome. Amazing things, in fact, and I was excited. We did Rome with two friends and this is a list of my favourite food experiences:

5. Pane, Vino & San Daniele. San Daniele is a famous type of ham from the region of San Daniele in Italy. It’s sort of like a prosciutto, with a strong, delicious flavor. So we went to Pane, Vino & San Daniele to have some of this. We ordered a bottle of red wine, two huge plates of San Daniele, and two plates of fior di latte [which, did you know, means “tears of milk”]. Trust me, it’s all you need. Simple, high-quality food is the epitome of Italian cuisine so this was such a treat.

Via della Panetteria 42.

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4. Baguetteria del Fico. Near the well-known Piazza del Fico [fico means fig], this place is super charming and quaint. The interior is small and can probably seat about 6 people, but outside, next to an old car, there are a few wooden stools which we always used. You have to pick up your stuff and move out of the way if a car comes past, but it’s all part of the charm. The make sandwiches [as the name suggests] and you can choose from a variety of breads. Most options of 4-5 euros, and with combinations like prosciutto, mozzarella, and truffle paste, it’ll be some of the best sandwich money you’ve ever spent! Pistachio paste is another delicious spread, and I can highly recommend the pata negra, which is essentially a grilled Panini with thin slices of lard and balsamic vinegar. If you like Weiss beer, try a bottle of Mikkeller Belgian Tripel. Ideal for a long, lazy lunch.

Via della Fossa 12.

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3. Carlo Menta is proper local. We were the only people in the entire restaurant who were not speaking Italian, and that’s always a good sign! The place is packed, I mean almost shoulder-to-shoulder dining, and there are three things not to expect here: Space; quiet; and fanciness. It’s a bustling little restaurant with honest-to-goodness, well-priced, delicious Italian food.. Marguerita pizzas are 3 euro, and you should know that a plain, good ol’ Marguerita pizza is pretty the best thing to have in Rome if it’s quality. But the best dish on their menu has got to be the Gnocchi di Carlo Menta: Perfect gnocchi with a tomato-base sauce, mussels, and baby clams. Incredible flavours, well-priced, and the cause of much order envy.

Via della Lungaretta 101.

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2. Ginger was our “fancy lunch” for the trip. It was a hot, perfect summer’s day and we sat outside under the umbrellas, watching the stylish Romans go about their usual day. The interior is chic and simple but truly beautiful, and the menu is extensive: Everything from daily dishes depending on the available fresh produce to healthier options like juices and smoothies, Italian food like interesting pasta dishes and meat and cheese platters, gourmet salads – the list goes on. We had some champagne to celebrate my successful Jimmy Choo and Tiffany haul, and each enjoyed a pasta dish. The food is fresh, the décor is gorgeous, and all ‘round I think if I could have lunch at Ginger every day I would. Dishes cost less if you opt for take-away.

Via Borgognona 43/44.

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1. Da Francesco. The place where all four of us had the best meal we’ve ever had. No, really. The best meal ever, in four people’s lives with a combined age of 100. Neighbour to Bar del Fico [we’re back at this piazza], you’d be forgiven for not noticing Da Francesco. Some of the reasons you should go there are that it’s central, well-priced, the staff are delightful, and it’s a lovely spot to sit outside for lunch. The main reason to go there: Truffle and buffalo mozzarella pizza. Need I say more? I don’t think so. It was incredible. It was mind-blowingly delicious, and I pine for it daily. Truth be told I don’t have the words to explain how good this  pizza was, so go there and experience it for yourself. And bring me a slice, will you?

Piazza del Fico, 29.

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25 Things I Learnt In Almost 25 Years of Living

5 Aug
  1. Quality trumps quantity.
  2. Clutter is not good for you. Whether it’s physical clutter in your home, or people you don’t need in your life, a regular spring clean is great for your soul.
  3. Good skin and good eyebrows are NB. Get these two right and you’ll solve many a make-up woe, and you won’t have to wear nearly as much of it.
  4. “Skinny arms are everything.” -Natalie Roos
  5. There’s no substitute for hard work. You can have all the best ideas, and all the talent, but without hard work people are going to overtake you at some point. Learn not to rely on your natural gifts as much, because it can make you lazy.
  6. There are only two things that cost money that make you richer: books and travel.
  7. Speak up, always. Even if it’s your boss, your new lover’s parent, or someone famous or important, I feel it’s important to speak up. I don’t mean insult their ugly shoes or tell them their face sucks. But if someone is being a racist, sexist, bigot, or general douchebag, speak up. Maybe, just maybe, you will plant a seed and that person will start to rethink their attitudes.
  8. The fear and anticipation of pain is often far worse than the pain itself.
  9. Animals are therapy.
  10. You need to rid yourself of the people you don’t need in life. I’m not saying treat people as though they are disposable razors. But sometimes we hold on to people because we’ve known them for too long, or they’re linked to someone else in our life, etc. And we forgive them over and over and over for the things they do that hurt us, anger us, or break us down. It’s not an easy decision to make, but there are times where you need to decide that enough is enough, and cut those people out of your life.
  11. Not everyone has amazing close-knit families who share everything, or a place they’ve always called home. And that’s okay! Because if someday you start your own family, or find where you belong, nothing will beat that feeling. And if you don’t? Well, that’s okay, too, because not everyone needs to have the same stuff.
  12. If you have something important or difficult to say, say it first thing in the morning.
  13. Things happen for a reason. You might have no idea what that reason is in the moment, but eventually it will become clear.
  14. There’s no better feeling than being healthy and happy.
  15. Peplums are not for everyone.
  16. Comparison will make you miserable. Especially in the  age of social media and the internet, you are constantly surrounded by pictures of strangers’ perfect lives. Firstly, people only put the good stuff online. Secondly, for every spoilt brat who had more Louis Vuitton bags than you, there are millions of people who wish they could have the basic stuff you have. Stop comparing yourself to other people, make a list of the things for which you are grateful every day, take control of the things that you don’t like about your life [or make peace with them if they can’t be changed] and be the best, happiest you you can be.
  17. Keep a journal. Even if it’s only to laugh at yourself, or see how far you’ve come.
  18. You don’t need to live by a bucket list. We are often made aware of the amazing things people want to do before they die, and I think we start to believe we haven’t lived unless we’ve been to space and flipping cured cancer. Personally, I don’t want to bungee jump, make an art film, own a vegan lodge in Bhutan, or fly a fighter jet. Not that there aren’t things I want to do in my life. All I’m saying is you don’t have to live by some insane bucket list of things the world has given you the idea you “should” do. Maybe your bucket list is 100 movies you want to watch. At home, on your couch. You watch those movies! And don’t feel like that was a life any less lived than that dude your friend knows who got his foot bitten off by a shark.
  19. Quotes are rubbish. The people in my social media feeds who post inspirational quotes about spirituality and all that deep stuff are some of the people who are least at peace with themselves. Pretty words from Oprah or Chopra are not the key to a fulfilled life. Make your own quotes.
  20. There are only two things in life that are perfect: Mathematics; and classical music.
  21. The best time to take risks and chase that dream of yours is right now. Even if it’s just taking the teensy little first step, our of a billion, stop not doing the thing!
  22. There’s a lot to be said for small pleasures. A perfect cup of tea, a good laugh, a warm bed: The happiness they bring about may be short-lived, but it’s very satisfying. And sometimes it’s enough to turn a bad day into a kind-of-okay one.
  23. Look after your skin. Hair is whatever: You could pretty much singe it off with bleach, and it’ll grow back. Skin won’t. Invest in quality skincare from a young age, and wear SPF. You absolutely will not regret this when you’re older.
  24. Surround yourself with inspiring people. It’s all good having people be complimentary about your achievements, but you need to also have those super people who make you give yourself a kick in the butt. Don’t get comfortable.
  25. Everything is temporary. I’m only 24, so I’m aware that I don’t know much. But so far, almost 25 years into being alive, I can confidently say that nothing is permanent. Broken hearts heal, and the big disappointment you think you’ll never get over fades into the background, sometimes making way for better things. Do take your time to feel all the feels, but remember that whatever you’re going through won’t last forever.

Vintage Drinks Trolley Because We’re Fancy

1 Aug

Since seeing Emma Jane‘s beautiful drinks trolley, I started looking out for one. It’s very Mad Men, no? And the perfect excuse to invest in expensive alcohol, like Jorgensen’s Gin or Vodka.

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Every now and then I’d spot on at Vamp or Mint, but every time they weren’t 100% perfect. I’d agonise over whether to feed my impatience and just buy the one that wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but eventually, thanks to the lovely Miss Moss, I found one that was perfect! It’s very similar to Emma’s, but I thought it was okay since we live in different cities. And she said it’s okay so long as it’s stocked up for when she visits!

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This one came from a guy in Jo’burg, so the in-laws picked it up last time they were there, and brought it down to Cape Town when they visited us last week. Now, for some bizarre reason, the previous owner has painted the shelves black. PITCH bloody black. Like a drinks trolley for brothels. It was vile, and we got working on stripping the paint right there in our dining room. It was a quick, easy job, and after removing the black paint and cleaning the glass we assembled it, added the booze, and voila!

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We need to get some fancier liquor. I mean, Gordon’s Gin is simply not going to cut it for this pretty drinks trolley. But other than that, I am pleased as punch!

Hair Tutorial: Gigantic Bun [VIDEO]

31 Jul

I did this tutorial weeks ago and never got around to uploading it. It’s my first one so please go easy on me.

I’m not a hair person. I don’t know how to do anything with my hair [it’s a blessing that it’s straight and well-behaved!], I get irritated with it, I know nothing about hair products, and I can literally not think of a single thing more boring than blow-drying my hair. But then The Mermaid taught me how to do a giant bun! Now, granted, it looks a lot better when she does it, but it’s a big step for me!

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The cool thing about this style is that it’s quick and easy, but doesn’t look it. It created a polished, chic look that is perfect for business or events, or just for every day wear when you want to look fabulous.

Natalie is hosting a hair and make-up class on 31 August here in Cape Town. You’ll learn how to do 2 make-up looks [day and night], as well as how to recreate 4 trendy hair styles. Throw in some snacks and giveaways, and I think this is a pretty fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning! I’ll be in Rome, so please go on my behalf? Bookings: kissandmakeup.nat@gmail.com

Shimanksy is a Girl’s Best Friend

12 Feb

When one gets invited to lots of events, or one has to attend them for work, it can get tedious. Events become a blur of soggy canapes and too-sweet drinks, people one doesn’t care for and goodie bags that just don’t thrill.

But some events stand out from others. And on Monday I attended one that will stay in my memory forever.

Natalie invited me to be one of a handful girls to spend a night fully enjoying the Shimansky experience.

Upon arriving at the Cape Town Diamond Museum I was handed a glass of bubbles and joined four other girls, including the lovely Emma and Jules on a tour of ‘diamond through the ages’- from when the first diamonds started forming, to the first engagement ring, to the present day’s most impressive jewels.

Once we’d gasped at the replicas of the Cullinan, the Burton Taylor, and more, we found ourselves in the Shimansky store. After an introduction fro Mr Shimansky himself, who is a wonderfully approachable man who radiates a love for beautiful jewels and the pleasure they bring, we were left to enjoy the best night ever.

Stations were set up for all of us, now joined by Misha, Emma, and Fran, to have our nails, hair, and makeup done, all while being fed bottomless bubbly and sushi. Best night ever, right?

But wait, there’s more!

We were also given free rein to try on everything and anything in the shop! Yup, for a few hours all of us were walking around with jewels to the value of R2 million and more on our fingers, around our necks, and in our ears. We were given fur coats and frames with which to pose in the photo booth although, of course, the jewels took centre stage!

Lucky Emma walked away with a diamond she won in a lucky draw! Hers came in a bottle of My Girl, Shimansky’s signature eau de parfum. We were each fortunate enough to walk out with a bottle of the fragrance, which is wonderfully rosey and feminine. It lasts all day and is perfect for summer and those days when one is feeling really girly.

All in all this event was flawless. Every aspect was enjoyable, it was a great mix of people who loved spending time together, and had to be asked to leave because, of course, none of us wanted to extinguish the fantasy by removing those dazzling pieces of jewelry. This will go down in my mind as one of the best events I have ever attended. Moreover, SC got his wedding ring at Shimansky and we had a completely professional and enjoyable experience there so I can definitely recommend them. Their more extravagant pieces are absolutely exquisite and staff were helpful and friendly and even complimented my Tiffany ring!

My Christmas list for this year will not to be modest.

photo 1-1My outfit. I decided to pull out a few stops with Louboutins, a Tiffany bracelet, a Pringle bag. The dress is H&M, for balance.

photo 1The new LBD: Little [actually, not so little] black diamond.

photo 2-1Natalie with her props.

photo 2Getting my make-up done by a lovely girl from Namibia hoping to break into the film industry with her makeup skills.

photo 3-1When things are so shiny you camera struggles to focus on them? That.

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This rock is so big it looks almost comical on my fingers. Love. My nails were done at the event in a gorgeous OPI shade that is a deep plum, almost black.

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Emma trying on Tanzanites. Did you know they were only discovered in 1967? I learnt that from a Shimansky employee.

photo 4Getting my hair done by a wonderful Scar stylist.

photo 5Ooh la la! The final pose.

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My gorgeous new fragrance. Similar to Gucci Envy, which I love.

 

 

Home Making

9 Feb

Our flat came fully furnished since the owners live in Ireland. But the furniture, since the flat is inside a residential hotel and was rented out as a hotel suite, is very… Hotel-eqsue. By that I mean no clear identity of someone’s taste, nothing too arty or unique. It’s all standard home ware that is neither offensive nor particularly inspiring.

The coffee table, however, was offensive. Hideous, and with a design so impractical it infuriated us everyone time we walked past it [possibly a result of severe toe-stubbing due to said ridiculous design.

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After searching high and low, we found the design we wanted. I wanted something locally made, something that was simple and functional, and something that served to make the space look bigger and lighter, rather than the clunky, heavy piece we had. It couldn’t be white due to our Nguni rug, and black or dark wood combined with the dark wood floors would just make the room too dark. So we went for a colour: Jade Cluster [Dulux]. The design is by Stokperd, a local designer. The price was less than a third of anything else we saw, and it has made a big difference to our living room.

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The table is super glossy and the colour is a brilliant emerald green [which cannot be seen in the pictures]. And, of course, nothing in a house is complete without a little personalisation:

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From to right: According to The Rolling Stones; our wedding album; Grace: A Memoir; Biografie van ‘n Bende; The Clash.