Recent Work: Rondavel’s Wild Mountain Range for Men

10636015_607547499354773_4049029893592660364_nI have been so privileged of late to work with the beautiful minds behind Rondavel – a small family-run business that produces the most delicious handmade soap, balms and more right here in the KZN Midlands. They use only natural, sustainable and local ingredients to make nourishing products and their packaging is biodegradable and often reusable. Kate is the mastermind behind their beautiful packaging (and often the illustrations/artwork involved in it too) while Chikondi is responsible for mixing up batches of glorious smelling soaps and other products that will delight your senses. Their three lovely sons provide entertainment and inspiration while they work from home up in Rosetta, near Nottingham Road.

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Recently, Kate and Chikondi launched their first men’s range, Wild Mountain, inspired by their love for wild local plants and all the beautiful mountainous regions across South Africa. Kate came up with the overall look she wanted to achieve and together we brought it to life in the form of packaging specifically for the following products: Beard & Shave Soap, Propolis Deodorant, Face Balm, Aftershave Tonic and Beard Oil.

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Scents include: Wild Dagga & Cedar from the Amathole Mountains, Rooibos & Buchu from the Cederberg, Cedar & Hemp from the Amathole Mountains, Cape Chamomile from the Cederberg, ‘High Grassland’ from the Drakensberg to name just a few! Ingredients are sourced from sustainable farmers in each of these regions and carefully mixed by Rondavel with other natural ingredients to create these amazing products.

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10698478_617585468350976_3285136948806363201_nWM-FB-launch-graphics2WM-FB-launch-graphics6WM-FB-launch-graphics8WM-FB-launch-graphics7Hubby and my dad (and even I!) have tried some of these products and they are divine (not only because I was involved with the packaging design and am biased, but they really do smell good and feel great on your skin!)

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Don’t worry ladies, there’s a special range coming your way soon too, keep up with the news by following Rondavel on Facebook ;-)

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Courgette Pizza Crust Recipe – Carb Free

Last night I tried a new take on my usual carb-free cauliflower ‘pizza’ base and made a courgette / baby marrow / zucchini base instead – it was DELICIOUS. Definitely prefer it to the cauli base and there is one less step in the preparation which is also a bonus for busy work-from-home-moms like me! Since posting a pic on instagram / FB, people have been begging for the recipe so thought I would share…

For all those who haven’t tried a carb-free pizza, it’s definitely worth a shot if you are looking for a health-friendly alternative. Let’s be realistic though, it’s never going to taste/feel EXACTLY like a REAL pizza (I’d say the main difference is the stiffness factor, most of these carb-less pizza’s need to be eaten with a knife and fork unless you make mini bite sized versions – a small sacrifice) but let me assure you, the cheezy-ness factor and toppings you choose to use make it close enough to the real thing for you not to even worry!

I used THIS RECIPE that I found on Pinterest and the basic steps are outlined in the pics below.

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Here’s a pic of ours, it’s by no means the most beautiful pizza in the world but it was damn tasty! (If you are interested, I didnt use baking paper underneath mine but used Spray & Cook on the baking tray instead, and I used Tussers cheese but think that a harder white cheese like Parmesan would definitely have worked better. Also didn’t cook my mushrooms beforehand and they came out perfectly…)

10666186_739214586143729_182143832_n(Hubby is the carnivore, Im the herbivore!)

Happy munching :)

Embarking (Again!) On A Healthier Lifestyle Mission

This morning I’m refamiliarising myself with my A New Weigh programme so that I can commit fully to become a healthier, happier me. (Oh, am I not just a living breathing cliche!)

I pretty much fell off the wagon completely after my initial weight loss earlier this year and have gained about half back… Not ideal.

I have all the excuses and no excuse at all, I knew what I was doing and have felt the effects of the weight creeping back on: effects on my confidence, energy, general life focus, and in my new clothes of course!

I know there are so many people blogging about their health/diet/exercise endeavours at the moment and so many other (jealous?) people are being negative and judgey about it all, but I really think it’s great that there’s such a big collective of like-minded people who are trying to better their lives through a healthier lifestyle, no matter what route they take to do so.

I like to share my story for a purely selfish reason – it makes me feel accountable if I tell everyone I’m going to do it, it motivates and encourages me to connect with those who might be going through similar experiences and with people who support me.

My end goal is more about changing the way I think + my relationship with food than it is about changing my body – so here I go again, wish me luck!

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A Quick Catch Up + Some Of My Recent Work

I’ve been a shocking blogger of late (I know a couple of other bloggers who are feeling this way too, something in the air?!) – life has been a whirlwind, so thought I’d do a quick round-up of all the things that are keeping me busy :)

1. These two. Always.10584565_715875391817564_1181131791_n They are such joys. And they are growing up so quickly. I cant believe my little baby is going to be one in less than a month! Working on her party plans at the moment but have pretty much decided on Teddy Bears picnic theme (thanks to everyone for the input and suggestions!)

2. We got a puppy! Meet Lily…10598648_1530350510511965_1253699674_n
She’s a 2 month old Great Dane and a very sweet little thing but unfortunately is causing major stress in the eating department… She’s the runt and has never been a particularly good eater, hence very thin, and occasionally she throws up if she’s eaten too much / too quickly. I’ve been feeding her 5-6 smaller meals a day and have to be on constant vom-control, and wow, it’s pretty much like having a new baby in the house! She’s managed to pick up 900g in just over a week and she never really throws up more than once a day but let’s just say this ‘first puppy’ experience is not quite going the way I’d imagined it (she really has stolen our hearts though and gets away with total murder, I mean, just look at that face!)

3. Work – wow, I have been doing a lot of that – all sorts of things…SC-CAkeA sweet little logo to double as a watermark for Sam’s new cake business in Port Elizabeth – what a pleasure she is to work with and her cakes are just incredible little works of art in themselves!WM-PackagingSome packaging work for Rondavel Soaps new all-natural Men’s Range, Wild Mountain – more to come on this in a separate blog post soon, and maybe even a sneaky giveaway! MP&FA logo and bits n bobs for Mel who recently launched her local Photobooth & Functions business here in The Midlands (such a clever idea seeing that the area is like the Mecca of wedding venues, well done Mel!)

Big-TreeSome logo concepts for an awesome American client with an online school of Natural Healing (website still in development) and whom I was recommended to by the wonderful Nicola Tweed

And LOADS more which I will share when I can :)

4. I picked up my awesome prize – hairpin leg coffee table made from reclaimed wood – from Neil at The Streets Furniture – thanks again to all those that helped me to win by liking my shared post on FB, you all rock <3

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5. Reading – yup, I got sucked into the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth and could not put my Kindle down until I had ploughed through all three books! If that kind of dystopian genre is your thing, you’ll love it! Watched the first movie recently too, and Four (played by Theo James) is totally swoon-worthy ;-)

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An Invitation: #GraceFactorySocial

Last year I connected with fellow moms / bloggers Tanya, Sharon and Amy to help with some design work for an event being organised for an amazing Jozi-based charity, The Grace Factory, which is a non-profit organisation that collects baby items at locations in Gauteng and the Vaal Triangle, and distributes them to other non-profit organisations (such as children’s homes and orphanages).

I’ve watched from afar as the charity itself has grown in leaps and bounds since, and these fabulous ladies are at it again and will be hosting another party this coming Saturday (details below in the invite I designed – really pleased with how cute it looks!) WISH I could go myself, unfortunately I’m stuck down here in KZN – but please, if you are in the area, stop in and show some support on my behalf!

Entrance is free; all that’s asked is that you bring a donation of your unwanted baby, toddler, child or maternity items (clothing, toys, bedding, equipment), PLUS a new consumable item or two, for example formula, nappies, cereal, creams, wipes. Cash donations are also welcome – all money goes straight to The Grace Factory

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For more info, contact Tanya / Amy by email:
tanya@tanyakovarsky.com
amy@thegracefactory.co.za

All support greatly appreciated for an organisation that’s doing such a great job to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Summer Tees & Tops

Warmer weather is on the doorstep and MRP.com is totally winning with their summer tees & tops range! Im a big fan of keeping it casual (name a mom who isn’t!) and love these monochrome numbers available online and instore now :)

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Anything goes when it comes to tees, and this season, RT brings you the hottest prints and coolest fits at very bank-account-friendly prices – put a fresh spin on the jeans and tee look with ladies fitted tees from only R35.99! Tuck your tee into your favourite distressed denims, or pair a crop top (from R45.99)  with a midi skirt or dungarees and you’re bang on – these are the tops that make casual cool!

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HAPPY SHOPPING!

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Big Love for The Counter

Today I dont have a Homegrown Creatives post for you all, my bad, life got in the way this week so forgive me!? I do have a story and some pics to share from my recent weekend away, and I’d personally include it in the ‘creative’ category anyway, so meet the kids from The Counter!

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I met Meg Pascoe many years ago through a mutual friend (cant remember when or how, but pretty sure there was alcohol and laughter involved) and reconnected with her on the Twitterzee after long time, no see while I was still living in London… I’ve watched from afar as she brought her little dream to life, partnering with her friend Ian, and have cheered along on the sidelines ever since The Counter was born. I have been drooling over pictures of the now-famous brownies for LITERAL years and finally – FINALLY – I got the chance to taste one (and more) after a quick trip up to Jozi this past weekend for an epic wedding (thats a WHOLE other story!)

All I can say is WOW – totally worth the wait – AND – hands down, BEST BROWNIES IN THE WORLD (this is a big statement to lay claim to but trust me!)

I had a raging hangover when I visited The Counter stand at Market on Main so unfortunately couldn’t stomach more than a bite of my friends burger (delish, obviously), but I took home a whole bag of treats which didn’t last long between post-hangy-hunger-pangs / being padkos for the trip home / mistakenly allowing hubby to catch sight of it all…

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The white chocolate fudge. I die. (It didn’t even see the light of day long enough for me to get a photo of it!) The brownies, need I say more:

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Their new Love Bar – seriously – layers of brownie, fudge, marshmallow covered in chocolate, hello?!

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Dark Chocolate Oreo Fudge!!!!!!!

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Also, dont you just love their new branding and website by You & Me Design?

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So proud of everything you have achieved <3
Follow The Counter on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news and updates :)

 

Homegrown Creatives: Meet Carmia from Clementine Creative

Welcoming Carmia to the blog today to share her passions, inspirations and background as a fellow freelance graphic designer in SA – check out her online shop if you are after budget friendly, professionally designed and instantly downloadable printable goodies :)clementine-creative-cleverbirdbanter-weekly-featureWho are you and what do you do / make / sell?
My name is Carmia Cronjé and I own a graphic design studio called Clementine Creative. I specialise in designing brand identities for female entrepreneurs, and I also sell printable paper goods like calendars, planners, wedding stationery, and more in my online shop.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
I studied Graphic/Web Design in college and always thought I would get a job like everyone else after graduating. I went for a few job interviews but it just never felt right. I couldn’t picture myself working in an office from 9 – 5. But I was lucky enough to get to stay with my parents while trying to start my own freelance business. After giving up a few times, I decided to start believing in myself more and to work harder. I finally got my business up and running last year.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
I don’t really follow trends and prefer to do something unique to me – simple but quirky. Lots of designers are following the “hipster” trend right now, but I like to do something with more thought and feeling.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Like most designers, I love Pinterest. I also find inspiration in magazines, books, blogs, etc.

Who are your creative idols?
There are many designers that I admire, but I don’t really have specific idols.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favourite spots in your town/city/country?
I don’t go out a lot, but when I do I like to get an ice-cream and go to the beach. Other than that, my favourite spot in Gordon’s Bay is The Garden Kitchen, which is a nursery/restaurant with great food, atmosphere and cute things to buy. And I love visiting the penguins in Betty’s Bay. There are many other places I love in the Western Cape and Free State (where I grew up), but too many to mention.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
Europe! Especially France and Italy. I have a little obsession with the Eiffel tower and other French things. And I’d love to visit the museums and explore the architecture.

How does a typical day for you play out?
I get up, have breakfast and get dressed. At 9 AM I’m in front of my computer checking and responding to emails. I then work on designs for clients, renew my Etsy listings, work up proposals, send invoices and check social media. I take regular breaks in between and also a lunch break. Then it’s back to work until 5 PM or so and then I’m done for the day. I used to work at night and check emails but I stopped doing that when I realised it was causing me lots of stress and unhappiness. Also, I don’t check email or do any client work on Sundays, but reserve the day for blog reading and other fun things. Checking emails on Sundays just made Mondays even more stressful than usual when I thought about what I have to do, to whom I should respond, etc.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I’d probably sleep late, have breakfast at a nice place, go see a movie (haven’t been to the movies in ages), and just hang out with my boyfriend.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
I love animals, so I probably would have liked a job related to animals.

Where can we stalk you?
My portfolio website: http://design.clementinecreative.co.za
My printables shop: http://www.clementinecreative.co.za
Twitter: @clementinecreat
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/carmiacronje
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clementinecreative

What does your workspace / studio look like?
I work at a desk in my bedroom. It’s nice and sunny in the winter mornings, and yes, my desk is always this tidy. My brain cannot function in a cluttered environment.(Photo attached).

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
I really enjoyed creating the airmail-themed branding (see below) for English Express, a small English language school in France. My client and I share this obsession with airmail and stamps, so it was the perfect partnership. As of writing the website isn’t live yet, but I hope it will be soon.

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Homegrown Creatives: Meet Sam from Elephantshoe

Where do I begin! Over and above the amazing work that Elephantshoe produces, and the lust-worthy treasures they sell in their online shoppe – I’ve had a couple of interactions with Sam and all I can say is that she is really just one of the loveliest human ever, and I think she’ll win you over too with the fab interview below, so inspiring <3

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Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
Hello there, my name is Sam Schwikkard founder, dreamer and creative director at Elephantshoe.com. Together with my husband James we design and create custom stationery for wonderful celebrations and important events. We specialise in small business branding and love to see new ventures succeed with their new brand styling. From logos through to directing beautiful shoots we heart it all. Last year we launched our Elephantshoe baby – our online shoppe where we make and stock a range of paperie and styling products that lead to a life more lovely. Our passion lies with simple, beautiful and honest solutions. “To Life” we say as we raise our glasses.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
As a child I was in my element when I was crafting or creating homemade gifts. I loved to stamp, cut up magazines and make greeting cards for friends and family. (Looking back some of my creations were really awful!) I guess at the time I always thought I would follow in my sister and brothers career paths, a chartered accountant, a Microsoft software genius and an actuary. It was only in high school that I discovered that it was possible to have a career in the creative world. I loved art lessons and along with my studies at the Red&Yellow School in Cape Town, I learnt to be a “Sponge”. To really look at the world and be inspired by everything around me. This way of thinking has fueled most of my choices, from working at Saatchi & Saatchi in advertising through to opening my own business in design.

What makes your work / products / services unique?
We love to work closely with our clients to create a custom solution. We listen to their needs, their ideas, and their dreams and try our absolute best to insure that they are ecstatic with their personalised design or product.

Where do you look for inspiration?
As they say, “Inspiration is all around” from the wonderful things that people say to interesting things I see on a daily basis. My starting point is always to chat with our clients either over e-mail, Skype or a cup of coffee to work out their design needs. This helps me to be inspired by their end goal. I look to old magazines, spaces and places around me and of course reference imagery which I like to document on my iPhone, iPad and iMac . Yes I love apple :-)

Who are your creative idols?
Artisans from years gone by. I have a huge respect and I guess a little obsession with the way things were done in the old days. Letterers and sign writers, seamstress and tailors, calligraphers – anyone who creates beautiful things with their hands and without the modern technology of today.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
Anywhere that serves a good café latte. James and I love to chat away and plan new exciting ideas in small coffee shops here in Jozi.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
If bucks were no problem, you would find me spending a year in France learning to cook and bake delicious things or I’d be walking with James into a cosy café in Boston city above our apartment, (a base for all our American travels.)

How does a typical day for you play out?
James is always the first up, he makes the tea and pops it next to my pillow to help me make sense of the day. We’ll eat breakfast together, get ready for the day and head to our home studio where we start with a mini meeting to discuss the plans, designs and deadlines for the day. From there we e-mail, brainstorm, design, print, create and package our Elephantshoe goodness. A trip to the gym is generally on the cards except for those crazy days where we work on some of our projects till the early hours of the morning.

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
I am a huge fan of DIY projects, (I’m sure you will see some of them on our Ellieshoe blog). There are so many cute ideas that I would love to create for James and my home that I don’t often get the time to get to. With an unlimited budget I could spend a fortune on tools and supplies and with all my free time I could make some of my dreams.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A photographer.

Where can we stalk you?
Website : http://elephantshoe.com/
Stationery Portfolio : http://elephantshoe.com/collections/portfolio-paperie
Blog : http://blog.elephantshoe.com/
Email : sam@elephantshoe.com
Twitter : @Elephantshoe_
Instagram : @elephantshoelove
Pinterest : http://www.pinterest.com/elephantshoeluv/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/ElephantshoeStationeryStudio

What does your workspace / studio look like?
Our Elephantshoe Studio (the Ellieshoe factory)  is a large open space on the 2nd floor of our home. Mix a little bit of classic with a dash of new, fill a jar with love add a dollop of vintage, sprinkle some whimsy and tie it all together with loveliness. With two long wooden tables, James and I sit opposite one another. A few things you’ll find around us are; printed orders, packaging tape, washi tape, brown paper, bakers twine, envelopes, cutting mats, printers, apple macs, rulers, craft knives, pinwheels, double sided tape, scissors, paper, paper and more paper.

What it the work/design/product/project you are most proud of to date?
Our Elephantshoe online shoppe and website. It took months of dreaming and many hours to launch our new look and create a place where we could showcase our favorite projects and a shoppe where our Ellieshoe followers could arrive inspired and leave inspired.

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Loving Mr Price Sliders + Win a R1500 Fashion Voucher

Fashionistas, listen up! Mr Price have just launched the new version of their website which now also offers a ‘click and reserve’ function giving you another great option for securing your basket before its too late!

Personally lusting after a pair of Sliders – first saw them on Emma Jane Menteath’s blog, My Life In Pink – and they are basically a bank-account-friendly version of the good old Birkenstock.

I was actually looking at some Birks a couple of months ago at the Gateway store, until I noticed the price tag (!) – and ya – we just bought a house so that’s not going to happen any time soon! These Sliders are the perfect solution to my problem seeing as they cost MAX R80 a pair (you heard me!) depending on the style you choose (will you hate on me if I say I really want the leopard print ones?!)

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And lastly – I have news of another great competition coming to you from the good folks at Mr Price – stand a chance to win a R1500 shopping voucher (redeemable online or instore) by clicking HERE

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