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sandy feet

January 17, 2010

There are two forces in life one cannot argue with regardless of your age, wealth or status. Mothers and Mother Nature. And when they share the same opinion, it’s in your best interest to obey; a fact driven home by a phone call from my sister earlier this week.
‘Mom and I have decided that you’re no longer to swim in the ocean’, she said calmly. Devoid of any emotion, much like ‘pass the salt’ or ‘nice weather we’re having’, it was clearly not negotiable.

The kickstart to my Saturday and Sunday mornings therefore needed a slight adjustment, one which saw me heading off to the safety of St James tidal pool instead. While I missed the mesmerizing sound and unadulterated fun of crashing waves, the water was still cool and inviting, the warm sun proverbially kissing our skin. 

Much like our visits before, our conversation steered toward how blessed we were to enjoy and appreciate the simple things which make life worthwhile.

‘It’s all about wriggling your toes in the sand’ – E.S.

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January 14, 2010

It’s Red Carpet Season folks! and we’re kicking off with the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards live from The Beverley Hilton on Sunday 17 January. Only about 60 hours to go before Ryan and Giuliana start flashing their pearly whites to coax the stars into revealing their most closely guarded secret to date, ‘who are you wearing?’ Hollywood is abuzz.

However, until that first limo spills its sponsored name-dropper, Tinseltown is rife with a question of another kind. Will Brangelina be there? According to my highly respected, you-heard-to-here-first sources, heat magazine and E online, tension is running high on whether the Jolie-Pitt liaison could cope with another Jennifer Aniston on-stage appearance. Flash back to the Oscars last year when a visibly nervous Jen came face to face with Brad’s guilty discomfort and Ange’s stone-cold glare from in the front row. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This year, as fate would have it, Jen has been invited to present again. Needless to say, Ange is not happy. So much so that’s she’s threatened to give this illustrious shindig a miss despite Brad’s nomination for his film, ironically titled, Inglorious Basterd. The guessing game continues. One thing we can be sure of is that Jennifer and Angelina will emerge from this gossip mill looking flawless; style and glamour oozing from every designer-clad pore.

So what’s a recessionista to do if ever she were to find herself in need of a ‘who are you wearing?’ While most of us probably don’t own one, the alternate should certainly not be a ‘what the h*ll are you wearing?’ Enter the LBD.

Coco Chanel unveiled the ‘little black dress’ in 1926, ushering in the epitome of women’s fashion. It was a short, slash-necked silk dress with diagonal pin-tucks as its only decoration. In reference to Henry Ford’s Model T car, American Vogue called it the ‘Ford’ alluding to its almost universal popularity as a fashion basic but only available in black. To the modern eye it may have seemed rather plain but Chanel believed that fashion could be chic yet functional. Although unassuming black dresses existed before, her design was considered haute couture. The garments’ pure simplicity, showing masterful cut and proportion, was designed to fit everyone and not show stains. Popularity soared, thereby securing its position as a staple item throughout subsequent seasons’ collections. Traditional elegant materials like lace, tulle and weightless soft silks were used in a new tailored way. Women wearing anything else seemed overdressed. She showed us how a simple cocktail dress could be turned into an evening dress with stilettos, long gloves and diamond accessories; yet when combined with a black suit jacket, simple pumps and demure accessories it could be worn to a daytime business meeting. A classic piece of 20th-century women’s wear was borne. 

In March 2006 a survey was conducted in the UK to mark the 80th anniversary of the first LBD. The poll of 1,023 men and women in Manchester and London was conducted on behalf of event organisers, Little Black Dress. A spokeswoman said; “From the classic sophistication of Chanel to the raunchy come-and-get-it allure of Versace, the beauty of the little black dress is that it really is all things to all women. Women love wearing them, men love women in them and there just is nothing quite as glamorous as an LBD for that special occasion.”

Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn was voted as the most unforgettable wearer of the little black dress ahead of modern day style icons. Wearing a strikingly simple Givenchy accessorised with pearls, her appearance as Holly Golightly in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany`s epitomized the Chanel ideal of elegant simplicity seen frequently throughout the early 60’s. Diana, Princess of Wales, was the only woman to make it into the top 10 for two separate occasions when her dresses stole the limelight. Second place was awarded to the little number worn to a gala at the Serpentine Gallery on the same evening her husband was making a televised confession to adultery. Her second appearance in a black strapless dress shortly before her death, photographed by Mario Testino, made it to number seven. Third place is held by Liz Hurley in the tight-fitting Valentino dress held together with gold safety pins which she wore to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Kidman are further included on this esteemed list – but a few other famous LBD wearers also deserve a mention.

Betty Boop, a cartoon character partly based on the 1920’s ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow, was drawn in her earlier films, wearing a little black dress. With the introduction of Technicolor, Betty’s dress became red. Edith Piaf, the French folk icon, performed in a black sheath dress throughout her career, earning her the nickname ‘little black sparrow.’ It was thought that the dress helped audiences focus more on Piaf’s singing and less on her appearance.

‘When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.’
– Wallis Warfield Windsor

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January 13, 2010
Rest in natural great peace, this exhausted mind. Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thought, like the relentless fury of the pounding waves, in the infinite ocean of samsara.

Sogyal Rinpoche offers insight into this beautiful poem by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche about taming the mind, a fundamental Buddhist philosophy. He explains that if we just let go and ‘naturally be’ we too can find rest. But how does one even begin to ‘be’? More often than not, it feels as though there are thousands of thoughts racing through your mind at the same time? Clients. Bills. Traffic jams and deadlines. All before you have even gotten out of bed in the morning. ‘Just breathe’ is what you’re told to do. But does this work? And how? Well, the mind is actually a simple tool; it cannot multi-task. Often you may feel as though countless thoughts are swirling around in your head at the same time, when in fact there’s only one thought being processed at a time; one after the other. When you focus on your breathing, the mind will concentrate on nothing else. Drawing a comparison between a our daily lives and a glass of muddy water, Sogyal Rinpoche goes on to say that if we simply allow the dirt to settle, clarity reveals beautiful self, allowing you to just ‘naturally be’.

Rest in natural great peace, this exhausted mind. Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thought, like the relentless fury of the pounding waves, in the infinite ocean of samsaraTo the family and friends of the shark attack victim at Fish Hoek Beach yesterday, I hope you find rest too.

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January 12, 2010

Although quite common on the roads these days, you may, over the past few weeks, have spotted one particular little gem in and around town. The title on its birth certificate would read ‘Champagne silver 2009 Hyundai Tucson 2l GLS’ but I call it mine.

Your first inclination may be to consider me arrogant followed perhaps by a ‘so what’. But please understand that this is my first official grown-up car since dad’s hand-me downs during my student days; followed by the little 1400’s sans air-con, power-steering and electric windows which I’ve subsequently owned. I had a brief stint with a few of the above-mentioned trimmings – but hatchbacks were still not my preferred choice. So, after closing those naughty store accounts which women tend to accumulate, crunching numbers with the ‘other half’ and patting ourselves on the back for always being responsible about saving and investing for our golden years, we achieved what was once a ‘dream’. And it feels great. Roads are suddenly smoother, the view which 16” wheels offer is amazing (short people like myself would understand) and a blistering Cape Town summer has nothing on ‘climate control’. I still don’t quite understand the difference between that and air-con – but I love it. While I still need to master the art of oozing seductively from its luxurious leather interior, I have however noticed (or imagined) a lot more respectful drivers on the road. It felt as though the doors to that secret club had been opened and I have arrived. But as we all know and as I was soon to be reminded, spiritual beings do not host arrogance comfortably.

I was met with a charming yet humbling sight one evening which pulled me straight out of that imaginary club. An elderly homeless person stood patiently in the middle of a lane reserved for cars, waiting for the lights to change to green before crossing a busy intersection. My immediate reaction was ‘oh, how funny,’ but it was soon replaced with humility and an immense sense of gratitude. While that gentle soul may not have been unhappy with where in life he was, I certainly considered myself blessed at the manifestation of another dream.

‘no dream is ever too big; no dreamer too small’ – Anon

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beautiful day

January 11, 2010
I have been blessed with an amazing weekend. All I had to do was get out there and enjoy each moment as it presented itself. Whether you engage or observe, I encourage that you do the same. Swim in the ocean, invite a friend to tea or take a walk around the block. You’ll be amazed at how much there is to see, enjoy and appreciate. Here’s to …

clean beaches

good friends,


quirky finds,

retro diners,

leafy streets,


naughty indulgences,

side shows,



and Cats.

‘See the world in green and blue. See China right in front of you. See the canyons broken by cloud. See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out. See the Bedouin fires at night. See the oil fields at first light . And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth. After the flood all the colours came out. It was a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away” Beautiful day – U2

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