I hope all my friends and family are paying close attention to all of these “what I would buy if I won the lottery” blog posts because this is basically a wishlist for me at this point – everything I write about every single Friday I would really appreciate as gifts. This one, I think is my favourite experience yet, imagine being able to combine the love of fine dining as well as the love of travelling all in one on a vacation! Food as everyone knows it is a universal language, the cure to everything in life, well my life anyway. When I’m happy, I eat. When I’m sad, I eat. When I’m celebrating, I eat. No matter what mood I am in I am always in the mood for food, especially if I’m travelling. Eating local foods is one of the best ways to submerse yourself in another culture, especially if you try traditional foods as you can also educate yourself on the dishes and why they eat them – for example in most restaurants in zimbabwe they serve sadza/ pap and that is our staple food. Therefore we can all establish that food in a sense is an expression of cultural identity. So imagine how incredible a journey around the globe for the best food the world has to offer; with stops at six of the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants.’ Traverse six continents, dining at the best restaurant on each, and encounter the true diversity of global fine dining would be. A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE.
1st – El Celler de Can Roca
4th – Central
8th – Narisawa
32nd – Attica
48th – The Test Kitchen
50th – The French Laundry
You would spend 4 days in each city, with a personalised itinerary from your TRULY Concierge. In Cape Town, discover theatrical Nouvelle-Latin cuisine at The Test Kitchen. Your next stop will be an exploration of Peruvian culture at Central in the magnificent city of Lima. From here you will savour refined French fare in California’s Wine Country at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in San Francisco. Dive into the bounty of the nature of Japan at Tokyo’s Narisawa. Finally, polish off a whirlwind experience feasting on native Australian fare at perhaps the world’s most extravagant dining experience, Melbourne’s Attica.
From London to Girona, Cape Town, Lima, San Francisco, Tokyo and Melbourne. This is what you call an EXPERIENCE.
Some people want to go to the Maldives but I have always wanted to go to the Seychelles. I feel like most people don’t actually know or have ever of this beautiful archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. This is literally one of Africa’s many hidden treasures. The Seychelles is a nation of 115 islands scattered over 400,000sq km surrounded by crystal clear blue waters. The islands were once known as a five-star destination with three-star hotels but fast forward to now and that’s far from the truth, new-look Seychelles offers areas of outstanding man-made beauty and the best of luxury!
Because each island in the Seychelles is very different, many visitors choose a two or three-stop holiday.
THINGS TO DO IN SEYCHELLES
Bird Island is situated about 60 miles from the main island of Mahe, and is easily reached by plane. Its 170 acres are covered in corals and lined with the purest white sand.
A speck about 6km off the west coast of Praslin, Cousine Island is owned by a South African businessman, who has embarked on an intensive conservation programme to restore it to its primal state. About 2,000 indigenous trees have been planted, and 12 endangered magpie robins have been introduced to share the island with a couple of thousand nesting birds (fairy terns, sooty terns, shearwaters, Seychelles brush warblers, Fodies) and four giant tortoises (each of which, apparently, command around the same market value as a giraffe). Much of the rocky island is out of bounds to visitors.
There are wonderful walks to be had on Frégate – through primeval jungle, up enormous granite outcrops and along white-sand beaches. Away from the resort, the rest of the island is given over to conservation projects (protecting the endangered magpie robin population, among others), cultivation (vegetables produced with a very sophisticated hydroponics system), livestock (pigs, cows, chickens) and recreation (water sports and scuba-diving; fishing boats, yachts, catamarans and motorboats).
LA DIGUE ISLAND
The island’s stunning beaches of silky white sand are lapped by turquoise seas. The best beach, Anse Source D’Argent, is reachable by bicycle. Other good places to swim are Petite Anse, with its large smooth boulders. La Digue’s west coast, south of La Passe, is protected by a reef, creating calm water, ideal for snorkelling. Besides the pleasures of beach life, La Digue offers horse riding, diving, fishing and boat trips. The bird sanctuary is a woodland of takamaka and badamie (Indian almond) trees, home to several nesting pairs of the rare, endemic black paradise flycatcher. Horse riding is available at L’Union Estate and diving instruction, expeditions and boat trips to tiny Félicité Island (population 12) can be arranged at La Digue Island Lodge.
Mahé is the largest island, and home to 65,000 people. It has the highest mountain ranges in the Seychelles and the world’s smallest capital, Victoria. For a stylish souvenir, Michael Adams, Seychelles’ most famous artist, has a studio/gallery at his home at Anse aux Poules Bleues (00 248 361 006; michaeladamsart.com).
The archipelago’s second-largest island is a 15-minute plane hop from Mahé. It is most famous for the Vallée de Mai (open 8am-5.30pm), a World Heritage Site home to the distinctive coco de mer palm. It is a fascinating, friendly and unspoilt island to explore by foot, bicycle or hire-car. A number of excursions, including cruises, bird-watching and photographic expeditions are available from both Mahé and Praslin.
Where to stay;
North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort
Set on the private North Island in the Seychelles, this exclusive hotel offers 11 villas along the islands beautiful beaches. The Spa on North Island boasts the use of natural herbal ingredients found on the island, while the various dining options allow you to enjoy the island’s harvest. Villas start from €7,046 (£6,195). All-inclusive. Free Wi-Fi. Children under 17 stay free, however, those between the ages of 17 and 19 years old are charged at €773 (£680) per night.
In addition to the 30-minute complimentary welcome treatment at the spa, guests of North Island benefit from various activities and services included with their stay. These include scuba diving courses and activities, snorkelling in and around North Island, sunset cruises, guided walks and the use of stand-up paddleboards, sea kayaks and bicycles. Guests can join in on the group morning yoga class and set out on a shore-based or half-day fishing trip. The use of one island buggy is available per villa.
Tell me that doesn’t sound like the dreamiest of holidays.
In my lifetime, I have known there to be 3 different versions of the seven wonders of the world. Of the original Seven Wonders, sadly, only the Great Pyramids of Giza remains – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Colossus of Rhodes have all faded to dust.
I first heard of the seven wonders of the world when I was in year 7 in geography, however, this list included Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro, Great Barrier Reef, Paricutin Volcano, the Grand Canyon and the Northern Lights. Then today whilst writing this blog post, it came to my attention that there is a New7 Wonders of the World and apparently this was an initiative started in Switzerland in 2000 as a Millennium project. The aim was to cast a worldwide open vote to select the ‘Wonders of the World’ from 200 monuments of global recognition and these are the 7 places that received the most votes.
I feel like the title is a little misleading because I obviously cannot physically buy a world landmark but what I actually meant was that, if I ever won the lottery I would love to go on a month-long trip touring these places. For as long as I can remember I have loved history, I love asking questions and learning how the world came to be and those are some of the things that travelling offers – travelling is such an amazing way to educate yourself and fully immerse yourself into another culture. A well-travelled person to me always seems so much more open-minded and that’s why I don’t just want to travel as much as possible but I need to, it’s a must! How amazing would it be to spend the month travelling across 3 different continents, visiting 7 different countries? Imagine the stories you’ll have to tell your children. This is the perfect honeymoon idea or anniversary trip! This is the trip of a lifetime.
THE NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD
DAY 1-3; COLOSSEUM, ROME, ITALY
DAY 4-7; PETRA, ARABIAN DESERT, JORDAN
DAY 8- 11; TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIA
DAY 12- 15; GREAT WALL OF CHINA, CHINA
DAY 16- 19; CHICHÉN ITZA, YUCATAN, MEXICO
DAY 20 -23; MACHU PICCHU, ANDEAN MOUNTAINS, PERUVIAN AMAZON
DAY 24 – 27; CHRIST THE REDEEMER, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Every time I wear a bralette or a cute slip dress my mum LOVES asking me if I’m going to sleep or if I’m going outside. Does anyone else’s mum do this thinking they’re funny, because I know I can’t be the only one who suffers from these jokes??? It’s so annoying ?
I feel like I say this all the time using different words but this has to fashion’s cutest trend and by far my all-time favourite. I know for a fact it’s here to stay – it’s been popular since the 90s and to this day it continues to reinvent itself. Whoever came up with the idea to wear underwear as outerwear and then made it mainstream honestly deserves the world and more! I used to be one of those people who would literally buy the most basic bras and bralettes because in my head i was like “who else is gonna see this but me?” and then lingerie became acceptable to wear as clothing again and now I pride myself in owning cute lace bras because one day they could contribute to a cute outfit, so technically underwear companies owe fashion for this!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERWEAR AS OUTERWEAR
1984 – Madonna wears a lace bustier on the album cover for Like A Virgin 1990 – Madonna dons the (now infamous) John Paul Gaultier corset bustier during her Blonde Ambition tour 1996 – Princess Diana gives slip dresses the royal seal of approval 1996 – Sporty spice makes wearing a sports bra as a top a thing 1998 – Carrie Bradshaw (styled by Patricia Field) makes a visible bra a must-have style 2002 – Christina Aguilera releases the video clip for Dirrty and flaunts her underpants 2018 – Kim Kardashian popularizes the trend for wearing lingerie bodysuits with trousers and skirts 2019 – Kim again wears her underwear outside, this time popularizing the current trend for lace bike shorts
All I am going to say is, the key to this trend is to make it look intentional!
There’s something so incredibly beautiful about listening to music in your own language. For me I never really deep lyrics when it comes to songs, I just listen because I vibe with the song but listening to SA soul just does something to me, I feel every single word and so much more! So it’s no surprise that I adore Ami Faku’s voice.
I first discovered Ami in June last year whilst watching an episode of Uzalo (my favourite SA soap), her song Ubuhle Bakho played as Lindiwe walked down the aisle. It was at that moment that I knew I had found my first dance song! Regardless of where my husband is from, this will be our song, forever and always. You truly have to listen to it to understand where I’m coming from! This was the first time in a very long time that a song had brought me to tears. Her voice, the lyrics, her sound, the melodies, everything about it was just breathtaking. To this day I can’t go a week without playing the song, it’s on repeat none stop. I’m probably one of the huge reasons why she’s SA’s most streamed female artist of 2019, she’s without a doubt my most played SA female artist!
Ms Faku has collaborated with some of SA’s biggest and greatest musicians I.e Amanda Black, Sun el Musician and Prince Kaybee just to name a few! She released her debut album in September and the more I listened to the album the more I fall in love with her, I kid you not, this woman will probably go down as one of SA’s greatest and I honestly cannot wait for her to get the global recognition she deserves. Within the first day of her album being released, it hit #1 on Apple Music, her album was #1 in physical sales of music for 4 weeks, she had 5 songs in the Top 50 of Radiomonitor Top 200 chart of 2019 and she was the ONLY newcomer on Spotify’s top 10 most streamed female artist. Imagine all of this was achieved within the space of a few months, so imagine what she could achieve In the next 5-10 years!
I had the privilege of interviewing this incredible woman on Monday and here is what she had to say;
How does it feel to be named SA’s most streamed female artist by Deezer? How did you hear the news?
“It feels great, I keep saying all of these things are a blessing because at first, I did not think that all of this was possible so I’m very happy and grateful.
I found out whilst I was alone at my place and I called to confirm because I was like there should be a mistake but thankfully it was an actual thing and there was no mistake.”
How would you describe your music in 5 words and why have you chosen these particular words?
“Modern, Soulful, Truthful, an Experience and Quality music. Every time I think about it I would say those are the elements that my music has.”
Obviously, as an artist, you take inspiration from so many things, for example; your surroundings, life experiences and other artists. How did you discover your sound, how long did it take you and what advice would you give to other artists looking to find their own sound?
“It took time because if I look back to when I was 18 I wouldn’t have done this, I was not exposed/ around people who played live instruments but I always knew that I had this deep love for instruments and soulful music but unfortunately I couldn’t – It was just this experience of doing all these other genres to actually make this decision to say, no this is the music that I really love the most. It was just experiencing and looking at the music I connect with the most – afro soul and RnB but mostly very youthful, nothing old or anything, that’s why I incorporate youthfulness in my afro soul because it’s part of what I like so it had to be part of my music and sound.
To new artists, I would say just be sure that this is the sound that you want because it’s not easy to write on, it’s not easy to create a melody on because it sort of has to compliment cause the production is always so great so it’s quite intimidating, you have to really work hard into making sure that your delivery is just as good. Make sure you know what you want, don’t do it because everyone says you should do it and stick through what you believe in and just always be you because I am me in my writing and everything about this journey. I am fully 100% myself so I would encourage them to do the same.”
Most of your songs are related to the idea of love, is this romantic love? Have you yourself ever been in love, or are you in love right now?
“My music involves platonic love as well as romantic love, because I myself am such a lover. I express love even in songs I dedicate to friends and family so It can be however you interpret it.
I was definitely in love at some point, it’s always so weird when people ask me this, I’m like no why??? but I am grateful for the experience as it helped me to create songs that people love, so I guess it was worth something in the end, I got something out of it at least, so yeah I have been in love! My experience is very limited tho, so in order to broaden my audience I always also write in other peoples perspectives and tell their stories too.”
For those you that don’t know I am Zimbabwean and this is my beloved hometown! Full of wide tree-lined avenues, parks and charming colonial architecture, Bulawayo is truly hidden treasure in my motherland! For years, ever since I could literally crawl my mum has always gone on and on about how beautiful the city of Bulawayo was and I could not agree with her more. I have been going back to Zim every year, sometimes even twice a year since I was 5 but it wasn’t until my latest trip in December 2019 that I truly got to appreciate the beauty of my city. Nothing much has changed from the early 20th century and I guess that is what I love most about the town, the buildings give me such New Orleans vibes! Honestly, if any of you are ever in Zim please stop by Bulawayo because I promise you, you will not regret it!
Fun Fact; Bulawayo’s claim to fame is that it had electric lighting (switched on in 1897) before London did! The population today remains majority Ndebele.
Before my mother became a nurse, she was a primary school teacher in Zim and naturally she has been to all these places on school trips and she has also promised to take me since I was 5 and 14 years later I still haven’t been to any, however this year I wanna explore more of Bulawayo so I plan on going home for at least 5 weeks just to tour my city and see everything that it has to offer!
Natural History museum
Bulawayo Railway Museum
National Art Gallery
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage
Where to stay
Cresta Churchill Hotel
Where to drink
Zimbabweans are known to be big drinkers so of course, I had to recommend to you some bars to drink at! Be warned tho, Zims don’t play when it comes to alcohol, these people drink alcohol straight with just ice, they don’t know what mixers are, it’s horrendous but I kid you not, the nightlife is short of boring. My best nights out were in Bulawayo, as in nothing can compete!
Where to eat
I am such a foodie and when I tell you, the food not just in Bulawayo, but in Zimbabwe, in general, is the best. NO CAP! There is no other country that provides flavour as this one does, whether you go to a restaurant or take away shop, you will not be disappointed with the food, ITS THAT AMAZING
For decades, if not centuries African fashion has been the root of inspiration for numerous Western brands and fashion trends. I mean it’s pretty evident considering the topic of cultural appropriation vs cultural appreciation on African fashion has been a hot subject for the last couple of years now. When you take a look at African fashion over the years, you’ll realise just how much it has influenced the fashion industry worldwide, look at the Dior show from last year in Morocco. From the vibrant colours to the eclectic prints and traditional accessories handcrafted by different African tribes, there is no better source of inspiration than Africa!
South Africans and Zimbabweans have been using Machangani bags for years, we used to use it for storage and carrying things, its basically like a huge carrier bag. Back in 2007, Louis Vuitton came out with their Machangani bag lookalike retailing for over £250. Wow, can you believe that fashion enthusiasts were out here buying this bag for over £250! TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUND! I can’t decide if this funny or what, because they literally could have gone and bought one for less than £3 in South Africa. This is a perfect example of how people will buy anything with a designer name.
Louis Vuitton again? Are we seeing a pattern here? I can’t decide if I’m for all of this or if I’m just angry that they are profiting from African Culture when there are so many home brands that aren’t making a profit yet, LV can charge £3000 for something you can get a lot cheaper in South Africa?
The woollen Basotho blanket is traditionally worn by the Sotho people in Lesotho. The blankets date back to pre-civilization in Lesotho. They were traditionally made from only animal skins and are a part of Sotho life from birth to death. A newborn receives their first blanket before they are even born, for many events throughout their lives, and eventually will be buried in one.Despite being largely unavailable outside of Africa for their 100-year-plus existence, their blankets are of such quality and have such a colourful, storied history that they are easily comparable to brands of a similar vintage, including Pendleton, Woolrich, and Hudson’s Bay Company.
Now, this is how you do cultural appreciation! Everyone else pleases take notes. In 2016 Christian Louboutin collaborated with Senegalese artists to launch the Africaba Tote Bag. Each handcrafted bag incorporated bold Ankara prints that originated in West Africa. Louboutin contributed 10% of his proceeds to the La Maison Rose, a refuge for women in difficulty in Dakar.
In 2017, English fashion designer Stella McCartney received criticism for using Ankara prints in her spring 2018 runway show in Paris. And then they had the audacity to include only ONE African model the show.
This is a message to every other brand out there that takes inspiration from African fashion, the difference between appropriation in appreciation is this. If you include African designers, help the community, credit your inspiration and do more to raise awareness, then you would not receive so much backlash.
The headwrap, also known as a dhuku or a doek, depending on the region, is a colourful piece of fabric that embodies Africa’s rich culture and is deeply rooted in African history. For his spring 2018 collection, Marc Jacobs sent models, such as Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber, down the runway wearing head wraps that resembled those so inherent in the African culture.
The doek for me is very symbolic, for us Southern Africans it holds a lot of tradition and means a lot of things to a lot of people so I don’t think that brands like Marc Jacobs should ever have it on their runway. To me, it’s disrespectful because you can almost compare it to the hijab
In the last couple of years, we have seen the rise of everything African thanks to this educated generation of the diaspora (which I can happily say I am a part of) who are open to the world and proud of their dual culture. These days everyone is proud to be African, I remember when I was growing up so many people growing up were ashamed to say which country they were from (this may or may have been because I grew up in a predominantly caucasian area) and it wasn’t until I got to 6th form that I saw just how proud people were of their culture and how keen people were to learn about their cultures. The older I get the more I realise just how important it is for me to know about my culture and go back home to Zimbabwe regularly because after all I am Zimbabwean and I want to teach my children the same things that I have been taught so they can pass it on it to their children and so on.
The world has never been as creative as it is right now, our generation has access to resources that we did not know even existed 100 years ago and this helps to explain why there are so many breakout Africans in various categories from Arts to Music and of course Fashion etc. The reason as to why African fashion has become a phenomenon is because our generation, one of which hasn’t waited for outside interest aka the western world, but instead we have taken matters into their own hands by creating our own businesses, brands, media and blogs to validate what has not been validated up until now and I could not be more proud to be a part of something so beautiful, to be a part of history! It’s no surprise that the western world wants Vogue Africa! We now live in a connected and engaged generation that dares to denounce acts of racism or even ordinary stigmatization by putting up a united front against all of it taking on, for instance, the use of blackface and the absence of black mannequins in fashion, the lack of diversity within the fashion industry etc and most importantly cultural appropriation. A conscious and responsible generation that wants to contribute, in its own way, to a renewal in how the world sees Africa. In other words, every single day we are changing Africa’s narrative!
To summarise – African fashion is riding a wave of creative output and recognition, gaining global press and an international clientele after being ignored and copied for decades. Our time as Africans to show the world what we have to offer has finally come!
The Brands you need to know
I’m going to be completely honest with you, before 2015 I knew NOTHING about African fashion. I was completely oblivious. I think my love for African fashion was initially an accident (I know it sounds crazy right).
I remember I was on Instagram and I came across an influencer in one of the first brands I ever discovered – Grass Fields. Once I clicked on their page a whole new world opened up for me, I was falling in love with fashion all over again! From then on I was OBSESSED and I kept coming across more and more brands alike. This completely changed my mind on the idea of African fashion – in my head, it had always been the typical traditional attire we see our mums wear to weddings and on special occasions or just around the house, basically the Ankara prints. Can you believe I was ever this naive and IGNORANT? Little did I know that African Fashion just like every other type of fashion had evolved with the times and also catered to the younger generation.
In many aspects, African Fashion has changed drastically over the years but it still somehow remains traditional with western influences, African designers have gone way ahead to experiment and create beautiful designs using fabrics from all over the world and I am so excited to share with you my favourite brands;
Kimberley, South Africa, is home to the world’s largest diamond mine, also known as the “Big Hole.” Dug by humans and so large it is visible from space, the pit has yielded some of the world’s largest diamonds and made the De Beers name famous worldwide. Kimberley is the diamond-mining centre, and capital of Northern Cape province, South Africa. It lies near the Free State province border.
A little history lesson; Founded after the discovery of diamonds on farms in the area in 1869–71, the mining camp of Kimberley grew as a result of the intensive digging of the diamond-bearing pipe at the hill called Colesberg Koppie. The camp was named after John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, who was then British colonial secretary. The town of Kimberley was created in 1878 and incorporated into the Cape Colony in 1880.
Kimberley’s gardens and squares are dotted with memorials, including an equestrian statue of Rhodes. Important collections of Khoisan artefacts are in the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, and the Duggan-Cronin Bantu Gallery contains early 20th-century photographs of African miners. The city also has Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals.