Tag Archives: summer

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.

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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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A Weekend In Franskraal

7 Mar

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photo 4This past weekend we drove out to Franskraal, a coastal town just past Stanford on the East Coast. Now that we’re married we are eager to have tons of “weekends away”, and the Western Cape is so ideal for that. Just a few hours’ drive takes you to beautiful coastal towns, the winelands, mountains, and more!

We drove up after work on Friday which was a good move as it made the weekend seem so much longer! Plus the drive was beautiful and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the mountains, lighting up the beautiful Elgin valley, and finally setting the ocean on fire as we got to Hermanus.

On Friday night we drank and braaied to celebrate Stef’s birthday [the whole reason for the weekend away]. We all chipped in to buy him Settlers of Catan and an extension pack that allows up to six people to play.

On Saturday morning after a big breakfast we went to the beach. SC and I went for a jog and then walked back in the waves. I’m pretty sensitive to cold but the water was a perfect temperature and I have decided the East coast is where it’s at; I just can’t face the arctic waters of the west coast! After some reading time on the beach [still on Les Miserables, should finish in the next decade] we went for a swim and then finally headed home where we had a late lunch with some bubbly. We then went to Birkinhead Brewery in Stanford which has the most incredible mountain views and delicious beer. We watched the rugby which was not as exciting as the drinking game we invented: Take a sip every time the angry Afrikaner at the end of the bar drops an f-bomb. After that we played Settlers of Catan which I was sure I would hate but completely loved. At 2am, Chris won.

Sunday morning was another big breakfast and then SC and I went for soft serve. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but man oh man, give me soft serve on the beach and I am one happy girl! It has to be the strawberry and vanilla kind, or if it’s plain vanilla it needs to be dipped in caramel. Obviously.

After that we went horseriding on the beach. On Saturday we saw horses on the beach and jogged until we caught up with them to ask for a number. It was just Simon and I on the ride and he was a bit nervous because he hasn’t ridden much and the last time I took him riding he was put on a fairly grumpy horse. Simon got a palomino gelding Goldy, and I was put on a feisty little skewbald called Harry. He was a handful, but such fun to ride! Simon went from being nervous to even be on a horse, and having never done more than ten steps of trotting, to galloping on the beach! I was so chuffed and I definitely plan to do this again, soon. Having done horse riding for 13 years of my life, I miss it every single day.

After a really stunning ride, made better by the fact that we were the only two, along with the guide, we drove to Hermanus en route home. We stopped there for a walk around. It really is a beautiful town and was pleasantly quiet. We went to Hemingway’s which is contending with Book Lounge to be my favourite book shop in South Africa. I got a better copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin [ours is falling apart] as well as the complete works of Shakespeare because buying them individually is a mission and takes up too much space in our little flat.

After a lunch of gin and tonics and  fish and chips with a view, we drove back to Cape Town, enjoying another beautiful afternoon of sunshine.

It’s energising escaping the city, even if only for two days. I plan on doing more of this in future!

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.

 

 

Couture Christmas

12 Dec

As I mentioned in the Christmas tree post, I never used to be a huge Christmas lover, and now I just SUPER love it!

Have a real Christmas tree has made my year. I love wrapping gifts, I love giving gifts- it just thrills me!

I’m not afraid of cheesy Christmas-ness. And so you can imagine my delight when I saw Charlotte Olympia’s Christmas range. Couture + Christmas? I could just perish with joy!

jingle-bell_v_5dec12_b_426x639Jingle bells shoes. Oh, I would be a-trottin’ all over the house with these!

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The best part is the Christmas-y bits of these shoes are removable! So from January-November you just have a pair of really fabulous, non-themed shoes. No one can argue with that.

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Just delicious!

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I have my eyes on those black shoes and this clear perspex clutch [which comes with a little velvet red/green clutch to put inside]. Hard!

 

A Lovely Picnic Wedding

10 Dec

Last weekend we went to a morning wedding in Constantia, and I just loved how laid-back everything was! It wasn’t formal at all, but still tastefully done and an enjoyable day. Kids were welcome, and after the speeches people who weren’t enjoying the ice-cream stand were playing a spot of crocket or French cricket on the lawns at Little Stream Estate. It was a perfect summer’s day, and the bride’s father’s speech may have made me a little sniffy.

Congrats, Mr and Mrs Heslop!

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There was no seating plan- you simple grabbed a chair/bench/blanket under the trees.

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The food laid out on a help-yourself table, meaning we could go back for seconds [twice].

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Home-made lemonade!

photo 2-2And the dessert options were endless.

photo 3-1Cupcakes for the road.

photo 3-2Heaven!

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Some More Home Makeover-ing

10 Dec

Our place came fully furnished when we bought it, which has been veyr convenient! We haven’t been stuck without, for example, chairs, while we save up to buy some. However, the furniture in the flat is… let’s just say, “not exactly to our taste”. Most of it is very standard, hotel-like furniture. Some of it is just “I wouldn’t personally buy that”, some of it is hideous.

The carpet, for example. To quote a friend of ours: “Wasn’t that in Austin Powers?” Outdated, but also completely discoloured and nasty-looking after years of being in there.

This, in my opinion, is a huge improvement:

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I just love our Nguni hide. I love that it’s African, but also that it isn’t your typical Nguni colour and pattern. I also think it does a fair bit to lighten up the room.

We got ours at Woodheads in Cape Town [there’s also one on the Midlands Meander].