Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"We Drink Chocolate Together"

I was recently switched on to a rather delicious little café called Chocola.j which serves the thickest drinking chocolate and handmade decadent delicacies. I managed to pull co-owner Claudia Lucas aside from her busy- and enviable- labours to chat about Chocola.j some more.

A deceivingly devilish Soft Serve Cup Cake- with a mini flake completing the experience. 

Above :Claudia Lucas doing what she does best.
Below: Brownies and Handmade Chocolate Salami

What do you do at Chocola.j? Where did the name come from?

“We focus on pastry and chocolate, cakes made to order and selection of truffles. We like to keep an emphasis on artisanal and handmade products, so we make our own French and Belgium chocolate and some of it gets infused with different flavours, we use it the café and sell it as bars. My business partner Nelia Smee did a lot of research while we were planning the business and she found out that  Chocolaj is the Mayan for “We drink chocolate together”

Be sure to get there on Friday for this!

A selection of cupcakes including Soft Serve Cupcake, 
Chocolate Astros Cupcake and a Creme Brulee Cupcake

Details like the suspended rope shelving and parquet finished walls 
make the environment modern but warm.

Where did the dream of a chocolate and pastry only delicatessen come from?

“We kind of grew up with the idea. Nelia and I are both Portuguese, so we grew up with food and in food loving families. After I studied Interior Design I realised it wasn’t really for me, then I studied pastry making. I also went overseas for a while and when I came back I started baking personally made, artisanal items from home. When Nelia came back from overseas and saw what I was doing we decided to work together and the rest is history as they say! When we started up we sold from Neighbourgoods and Market on Main and it meant we could open up shop last year September.”

I love details like the old recipe books on the wall, filled with the nostalgia of childhood.                

How did you come up sleek yet comforting décor?

“Nelia and I had a few ideas but really it was our friend Bronwyn Mary Cane who combined all of them and put the place together" View more of Browyn's work at

The little guy below has a melted marshmellow center and Belgium chocolate ganache icing. 

Get down to Chocola.j in the Northcliff Galleries, 167 Beyers Naude Drive and check there website for more details. I hope you begin feasting soon!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

This Weekend's Sales!

Now this weekend is going to be a biggie on the sales front. Never mind trawling the malls when you can go through to lovely ladies at the Religion Sample Sale to pick up fantastic pieces by this grungy East London label- from denim and accesories to cocktail dresses. A little birdie told me the starting prices are as little as R30! The sale runs between Thursday, 28th to Saturday 30th, so get there before all the good stuff is gone. If you find yourself famished or need of a break, Two Tarts Cafe is right next door. 

Saturday may have you shopping to the point of exhaustion with both Rayne's launch of The Blk Collection and Strictly KP's Open House running concurrently. Designer Jessica Rayne specialises in locating amazing vintage pieces, which she then de-constructs and painstakingly reworks into modern garments, made with love and taking environmentally friendly to a chic new level. 

Strickly KP's Open House is a monthly event bringing you the best of South African Ready To Wear at the lavish Athol Place, Sandton. KP always treats his guests to bubbly and I can imagine the fizzy stuff will be flowing more than ever as he assists you in finding the ultimate look for this years Durban July! This years theme is "A Material World?", even if you are not attending the races you can support the sustainable theme by buying from local designer brands such as Two, Jane Sews, Rachel De Maart and Sies Isabelle. 

So having shared my Saturday schedule with you all, who willing to be my shopping wingman? 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Avant Apparel Winter Ready To Wear

Here are the campaign images behind the latest Avant Apparel Ready To Wear Collection, shot by JP Hannekom and staring the lovely Leigh Peinke, Fashion Assistant at Elle Magazine. After a well-praised runway collection showed at MBJFW earlier this year, a retail version allowing fans to bring the unique Avant aesthetic and subtle glamour into everyday life was needed.

 Personally I love the concept of the shoot and how the obscure and at times seamless layering paraphrases the origami like folds of various garments throughout the collection. 

Congratulations to Avant Apparel and Egality for an amazing launch enjoyed by all attended, I'll be keeping an eye out for street style shoots featuring these lusted-after garments! To get your own piece of Avant, head down to Egality, 25th Fourth Avenue Parkhurst or call the store on 074 154 8444. Check out for made to order!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Jane Raphaely Unedited Launch

Last night at the Johannesburg launch of Jane Raphaely Unedited, held at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park Corner, members of both the media and the public gathered to see South Africa's publishing matriarch. Raphaely was at the helm of Fairlady for 19 successful years before launching, editing and publishing Cosmopolitan South Africa and is the current Chairperson of Associated Magazines. She is also well known in the industry for identifying and publishing hard hitting stories on sensitive issues, her ability to nurture talent and her compassion for employees. 

"Everything I have achieved I credit to the public library in the horrid little town I grew up in" 

Due to memoires as a girl young, of trips to a drafty public library to select children's literature from towering book shelves, week in and week out- this quote from Raphaely resonated deeply with me. She also went on to say that "Books were (her) bridges to another world" and having read on edited extract from her autobiography I may as well been in 1950's New York with Mrs. Raphaely less than 5 minutes ago. To read the extract from The Times Live click on this link

At this point it is more than safe to say that Jane Raphaely is an incredible post-feminist role model for South Africans. Despite her sharp intellect and shrewd business savy she will always be the epitome of a "Fun, Fearless, Female" 

Here are some images from last nights launch

Jane Raphaely poses after a signing.

Marie Claire Editor, Aspasia Karras with Marie Claire Fashion Assisant, Kelly Fung

Ferial Haffajee- Editor in Chief of City Press Newspaper

Emma Jordan, Editor of Sandton Magazine

Founder of Heat Magazine, Melinda Shaw

The lovely Mathile Stofile, Marie Claire's Beauty Editor in Loin Cloth and Ashes with photographer David Dini and Aspasia Karras wearing Abigail Betz. 

Mrs. Raphaely have an intimate moment with one of her fans.

Monday, 4 June 2012

New Store: Call It Spring!

May saw the opening of  the first Call It Spring! store in South Africa and there are some amazing goodies in store. The brand has a great range of on trend ladies and men's shoes and accessories including hats, jewellery, scarves and even something to brighten up your cellphone . Although I loved quite a few bags and a particularly cute pair of anchor earrings, I've picked out a few shoes that would add value to any girls wardrobe. These styles are currently available at the Cresta Shopping Centre branch, I look forward to seeing the official launch of Call It Spring! in July and the opening of more stores countrywide. 

Girten R299.00

Saniger in coral R299.00

Saniger in cream R299.00

The uber-bright Hebden R399.00