So let’s just say I have been on a favourite five hiatus…
The last time I put together my list of favourites was in June 2015 meaning a full seven months have passed in between, including the start of summer, my birthday and Christmas! I always find the start of the year is a crazy blur for me (blame financial year ends), so I really only feel like February is when I am fully able to take stock of the fact that it is a new year and I am ready to start attacking my goals.
1. Springfield “Miss Lucy”
This has been sitting on my list since October as it really is such a fabulous summer wine! I am not usually a fan of a white blend (in fact, let me clarify: I hardly ever touch a white blend) but the combination of the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Pinot Gris combine so effortlessly in this blend that it is by far my favourite white wine of the moment! It is the perfect accompaniment to a summer braai or post-work tipple (given the fact that it is slightly lower-in-alcohol than most other local wines), while the explosion of grapefruit on the nose and palate was blended with languid, ocean-inspired lunches in mind.
As with all Springfield wines, the grapes are harvested from a single vineyard (which contributes to their distinctive aromas) and carries a story behind the name: the blend so-named as an “ode” to the Red Stumpnose fish; colloquially called “Lucy” by fishing communities in the Cape. Due to severe over-fishing, the species find itself on the SASSI Red list (i.e. don’t order it!) and facing extinction.
Apparently, this blend has been 12 years in the making – which is as long as it has taken me to appreciate a white-blend wine – and in my opinion, well worth the wait. You can find Miss Lucy at all good bottle stores and retails around the R105 mark.
2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
You can quote me on this: “a friend who buys lush make-up gifts is a friend for life”.
Our dearest friend, Ricci-Leigh, is currently visiting South Africa and spoiled both Ilaria and I with a Sephora-inspired gift (good girl, she clearly reads our blog too!) comprising of the fabulous Sephora eye and face masks as well as this Hourglass Ambient Lighting blusher. To say she hit the nail on the head with this gift is probably an understatement; my love for blusher/highlighters/bronzers is fairly well-documented AND this stuff is pretty damn perfect. The creamy, nude shade of the palette is somewhat deceptive: as soon as I brush it onto my cheekbones I am rewarded with a perfect peach glow that is natural enough to not look as if I made out with a disco ball.
As with all of my current favourite make-up products, it is not available locally but if you will be spending your hard earned Rands pennies in the next few months abroad, take a stroll past the Hourglass cosmetics section and pick yourself up one of their cult highlighters; you can thank me later! 🙂
3. Apple iWatch
While I tend to splash out on make-up, cosmetics and beauty treatments, I rarely make other large purchases. But that all changed this December, when I decided to reward myself with an Apple iWatch as a bit of an ‘end of the year’ pressie. I’ll be honest here: one definitely does not need it but it really is such a wonderful piece of technology that one ends up wanting it. I find the fact that it measures daily movement and heart rate just one of the features that has endeared itself to my daily routine.
Part of my 2016 resolutions is to reduce my hours of ‘screen time’ and despite adding another layer of technology to my life, I do feel like the watch stops me from being permanently glued to my cellphone screen during the day. My whatsapps, messages and calls all show up on the watch face so I can happily browse the shops grocery aisles without missing any important communication. There are also some really cool features that link to the iPhone: electronic boarding passes on the BA app, using the watch as a remote for photos (hello, selfies!) and being able to stream music directly via the watch to my bluetooth earphones.
I opted for the Sports version of the iWatch with a lavender pink strap and rose gold face (the very one we featured in our Christmas gift guide) and although it is a bit more girly than my usual taste, I absolutely friggen love it!
4. Col’cachio Banting Pizza
I don’t bant but I am a firm believer in incorporating more vegetables into my daily diet; so the very idea that eating a pizza could help achieve this is revolutionary. I LOVE pizza, but had to give up my Friday night habit a few years ago when my stomach decided it was no longer a fan of the wheat and cheese combination.
I have tried a few variations of banting pizzas around Jo’burg and am officially crowning the Col’Cacchio version the absolute best in town. Somehow they manage to get the base crispy and the balance of flavours as exact as a regular pizza that I do not even notice I have done a “healthy food swap”. In fact, Col’cacchio has quite an extensive banting menu (including desserts) which means you need not forgo your pizza night with Banting friends.
Col’cacchio stores are scattered across the country so if you are craving a pizza – without the guilt – then I suggest you pop into your nearest store and order one of these. I personally found the Regina (ham and mushrooms) version as close to pizza-perfection as possible.
5. All The Light We Cannot See
Our dear friend Sally at the Saltbox once told me that she tends to forget a book’s name after reading it on a Kindle – which turns out to be completely true. That statement has become my ‘yardstick’ for measuring how good a book is; if I remember the name then it is a winning book! “All the Light We Cannot See” is one of three books I can remember offhand from 2015; and probably one of the best books I have read in recent years.
The story is beautifully crafted around a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy, Werner, during World War II and the ‘light’ both of these young people are unable to see. The writing is brilliant – the book won the 2015 Pulitizer Prize for Fiction, if you count such things as important – and haunting; for days after finishing the novel I turned over the words and storyline in my head. As bereft as the story is, it also has a sense of triumph of good over evil, light over dark, love over hatred.
It is absorbing, tragic (there were more than a few tears) and my favoruite type of book to read whilst on holiday. The author, Anthony Doerr, pays an immense amount of detail to the world he has created – so much so, that I have added visiting Saint Malo in North Eastern France (along with the rest of the D-Day landing spots) to my history-geek travel list.
I cannot recommend this book enough – I haven’t spoken to a person who has had the pleasure of reading it and not loved it!
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