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Imagine finding yourself in Willy Wonka’s factory, but instead of all kinds of sweets, you find chocolate. Any and every kind you can think of – small slabs, big slabs; artisinal chocolate; chocolate with no milk and no sugar; chocolate with coffee , chocolate with chilli, chocolate with salt; berries in chocolate; fudge! 

Now imagine that waterfall and stream at the Wonka factory, but instead of being a river of chocolate, it is made out of the best and most delectable coffees on earth. And every time you scoop from the river, you get a different flavoured coffee! 

Lastly, imagine trees growing next to this coffee stream, with leaves, bark and fruit made of cookies! The perfect accessory to the perfect cup of coffee. Oh, delicious!

This past weekend’s Coffee and Choc expo, held at Montecasino, was but a glimpse of what it must be like to get lost in the wondrous Willy Wonka world I just described. 

 {pic by Giro Coffees}

I took two of my girl friends to explore and what we found was truly Wonka’esque. Every stall had little tasters of what it had on offer and we engorged ourselves on every single tidbit.

Among the hundreds of stalls, we stopped at Mi Casa, Aroma, Bean There and Roast Republic – the freetrade brainchild of Leandri from Masterchef. 

{Pic Roast Republic}

Leandri and her sister, Seline, gave a workshop on making gourmet food with only coffee and chocolate, but bad timing on our part had us missing every single workshop, so we just chatted with the ladies afterwards. I asked Leandri if she’s Afrikaans and everyone started laughing loudly. She’s clearly not, haha. 

I had only one cup of coffee at the expo, which unfortunately had an incredibly strong salty aftertaste and put me off having more coffee entirely; I gave it to my friend Eleanor to finish. She was sniffing out all the freetrade stalls, but wanted to try all the special coffees too. Poor woman must have been buzzing until Tuesday!


There was chocolate and temptation everywhere! We tried every single morsel we could try and got stuck at a stall that mixes olives with chocolates – sounds weird, but believe me it was amazing! I forget its name now and I didn’t take a business card either. Also among the chocolate stalls was festival favourite Nova. I love their packaging and their different flavours, seriously amazing!


I really adored the La Coco C stall. The company sells chocolate, cookies, brownies, mixtures and wedding favours! From American choc chip, cranberry and white choc chip to a red velvet cookie mix {we bought one and it was amazing!} and all sorts of brownie mixes, including a chilli brownie mix, to honey, this stall had it all. The lovely decor caught my eye first and I just loved the visual appeal. Find them on:

And I finally got to taste ice cream from Paul Ballen and meet the guy himself. I really mean it when I say that you HAVE NOT lived until you have tried these icy cold tub sized heavens! I had a vanilla and salted caramel ice cream, which Paul admitted was not his favourite, but it was certainly mine, albeit I have only ever had one flavour. Pretty nifty is that the ice cream has a date stamp on it, so you know that it is oh-so-fresh! Find him on

There is definitely a limit to the amount of coffee and chocolate you can consume in one day, and we most certainly passed that limit within the first half hour, but as they say: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” 

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When you have boundless creativity, a beautiful inspirational family {including a little baby girl with the biggest blue eyes you ever did see} and immense talent, then you might sound like a fictional character, or someone featuring in an overseas magazine – you know, those ones that looks like Pinterest on a page. But, in fact, you are local powerhouse Jessica Anne Barnard.

Following the birth of little baby Lila Bear, as her parents so lovingly call her, they started a photography business AND just yesterday Jessica launched a new endeavour known as Motif. She tells The Sun House more.

 photo motif.jpg

Jess, you are a mother, designer and photographer. How did you start and how long have you been doing this? 

Design and photography both started out as hobbies. I have a basic knowledge of graphic design and am always happiest when crafting my craft. I also can’t remember a time when Gary and I weren’t shooting. Especially Gary, he has this mad raw talent when it comes to taking photographs. It was the arrival of our baby girl Lila Bear that was THE push forward for us. I really battled to find inexpensive non-permanent modern decor for my sweet girl’s nursery, so I did what I always do, I made it myself. First the decals, then the mobile. When Bear was born people really started to take not of our pictures. The feedback from all our friends and followers on social media sights was astounding! When the universe is screaming at you to do something you can’t ignore itBoth MOTIF and BEAR & BLOOM are brand spanking new. We’ve been shooting semi-professionally for just over a month now and I just launched MOTIF yesterday actually :)   

What sort of products do you make? Do you also provide services?

I have a range of super easy to install wall decals. They are a pretty rad alternative to wall paper and paint and a great choice for the tenant because they’re removable. I also hand make bespoke mobiles & accent pillows for babies & kids. Yes, I would say I provide services. I do take custom orders. 

 Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

For this range specifically, I drew from simple basic shapes. I am inspired by many things and everything – the people in my life, other creatives, nature, social media, trends and most importantly the of love making something beautiful with my own hands.

What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?

TIME MANAGEMENT! I have a very busy little one year old… It’s very hard to know when to stop. I work mostly when she sleeps and that’s at night which takes away from husband and wife time. I feel like I have one thousand different balls in the air at the same time. 

 photo bearbloom.jpg

How do you perceive the South African creatives/design landscape?

Innovative, handmade, environmentally conscious, self supportive with a focus on great quality no matter the medium. I love that the artisan is coming back in a big way. People taking such pride in their trade and putting out beautiful quality. It’s the small local business owner who needs to be embraced. And I think South Africans as a whole are loving local.  

 What is your favorite colour/ material to work with, and why?

YOH! My favorite colour changes regularly. I am a huge fan of white but that’s not technically a colour. I’m a bit nuts over pastels to be honest. I love amazing quality, natural fabrics like cotton, linen and leather. If you use great quality materials your products will be great quality and give good wear over time.

What would you do if you won the lotto?

First, I would whisk my family and friends on a divine holiday somewhere amazing like the Amalfi Coast. While away, I would commission the build of my dream home – an all white Victorian number with turrets and towers and round rooms, smack on the beach with a Scandinavian inspired interior utilizing lovely raw materials like wood, polished concrete & copper. I would invest in myself and give back by setting up a studio space, sharing my skills and knowledge with people who wanted to learn. I think knowledge and education in any form is more valuable than money, teach a man to fish and all…

I’m coming on that trip to Amalfi for sure! Where to from here?

I am starting to explore a kiddies linen line, exciting! I would adore to team up with other brands & creatives that I admire & believe in. Collaborating with other like minded creatives always results in something awesome!  

What has been your proudest moment since you started?

There’s been a few:

> Being featured on Gareth Pon’s blog for one. It’s crazy when the people you look up to and admire turn around and admire you back… 
> Having one of our shots Exhibited by the Nandos SA Youth Day #16Pictures initiative.
> Gary will soon be an officially “published photographer”, if you will. A picture he took is in the latest Edgars Magazine. Haha! Small time but we all start somewhere. It’s a really great shot too. 
> Last week I had a great day, Angie from Lucky Pony, who I have a mad creative crush on, received her babies mobile and loved it. I battle so much with self doubt, it can be so suffocating sometimes. It’s such a great feeling to know that something I made is genuinely loved by another person.  
Instagram – @redrabbitears
Twitter – @redrabbitears

Instagram – @bearandbloom
Twitter – @bearandbloom

Instagram – @motif_sa
Twitter – @wallmotif



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The day journalists were introduced to coffee, the world changed. We basically look and sound like early man, muttering inaudible words, being the most obstinate creatures God has ever made. Until we have that first cup of java, until it starts surging through our veins, until we can open our eyes and smell that heavenly aroma, journalists are useless. I should know. I am one.

The other saving grace for many journalists, is having something sweet, like chocolate, in your drawer or bag, to give you that boost of energy needed to get through our busy busy days.
But, the wonders of these two astounding lifelines aren’t just limited to the likes of journalists! Could you imagine a world without coffee or chocolate? Didn’t think so! 

Luckily for us Joburgers, some really clever people named Shone Media had the noggins to combine coffees and chocolates and make an expo out of it, aptly named the Coffee and Chocolate expo!

Welcome to the all new eccentric, decadent and exclusive Coffee & Chocolate Expo. For a raw and rich extravaganza of taste and experience of the highest class, join us on our journey while we tease and tantalise all your senses to bring to you a one of a kind Coffee & Chocolate Expo,” it says on their website. 

Further, the expo hosts a few workshops, including a chooclate workshop by Wiz Bake and The Global  Chocolate Company as well as a wine workshop hosted by Ken Forrester Wines with top executive chefs, transforming dreaminess into reality to enhance your lifestyle, home and tantalise your coffee & chocolate addiction.

Also featuring at the event is sisters Leandri & Seline from Masterchef SA in a cook off extravaganza using only two Coffee & Chocolate. Experience new technologies in baking, moulding and cooking with chocolate and watch the sisters infuse coffee flavours into your favourite dishes.
The best is that you can also view and purchase the latest technology in coffee machines, accessories, crockery and products to make you and your family coffee & chocolatier experts!  Sit back, relax and enjoy a fun filled day of entertainment, tasting & an aromatic sensation that sends shivers down your spine.

Cannot wait to go!? Then you are in luck! The organisers have given The Sun House two tickets to give away for tomorrow night! 

All you have to do is tweet the following: “I want to win double tickets to @coffeechocexpo with @waitingformeg” – copy and paste is easiest 😉

Follow @coffeechocexpo on Twitter for an extra entry and comment below that you tweeted and followed, along with your favourite flavour coffee! Good luck!

The tickets are only valid for people who can be in Johannesburg tomorrow night. It is only valid for July 17. The doors open at 16:00 and closes at 19:30. 

The winner will be announced tomorrow at 12:00.

The event is taking place from July 17 to July 20 at Montecasino, Fourways.

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Besides having one of nature’s most amazing smells – other than vanilla – cucumbers are probably the most underrated vegetable. It is honestly a little miracle plant, any beauty or fitness guru will vouch for that.

In fact, cucumbers are considered one of the healthiest foods on earth! Not only does it rid your body of cellulite {amazing!}, it also treats sunburn! Read lower down about more of this wonder veggies properties.
Did you know that cucumbers also act as a natural diuretic? So girls, if you are close to that time of the month, make sure to eat loads of cucumber and you will not be as bloated.  Read lower down about more of this wonder veggies properties. 

//Being a fan of smoothies is beneficial! It is quick, healthy and super tasty, especially if you make this delicious watermelon and cucumber smoothie! To die for!

//Planning a dinner and looking for a quick and easy appertiser? Then this stuffed cucumbers with feta cheese and procuitto is perfect for you.

//Listen, if there is one thing I love more than cucumbers it is a fancy open sandwhich and salmon. These two combined gives a modern twist on the English favourite. Find the recipe here.

//We all know that cucumbers are perfect for puffy eyes, but did you know that it also reduces the dark circles under your eyes because it is jam-packed with antioxidants and sillica? It also, believe it or not, has the power of reducing freckles and improves your complexion! {cucumber on eyes picture from here}

//Body scrubs are girls ways of saying ‘with love from me to me’ to their bodies. Treat yourself with this homemade DIY cucumber mint sugar scrub and get beautiful winter, or summer, skin in the process. 

//Lastly, by making your own cucumber and aloe mist, you will be doing yourself the biggest favour ever. It is described as such: The cucumber soothes and softens your skin, and also provides a cooling effect. The lemon acts as a natural exfoliator, leaving your skin smooth and soft. The aloe soothes your skin, promotes blood circulation, and improves your skin’s elasticity.

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I think I’m in love with the Eastern Cape. Its vast stretches of untouched beauty, the people, the cows walking on the beaches of the old Transkei, the vibe. It is the perfect province for a little honeymoon romance. When we went on our honeymoon last year, I wasn’t told of our next destination, only learning about it as roadsigns revealed my brand-new husband’s secrets.

The city was founded in 1820 to house British Settlers, it’s history still evident in the many Victorian style houses scattered all over the city. This was also my second time in the ‘windy city’ or ‘friendly city’, whichever you prefer. The two days spent in this wondrous city had me longing for more. So, here is:

Visit Bird Island

Bird Island is one of four islands off the coast of Algoa Bay. It is home to the largest Cape Gannet colony, with about 160 000 pairs of gannets, Roseate terns & African penguins inhabiting the island. It forms part of the Addo Elephant Park. The islands are not usually open to visitors, but SAN Parks do occasionally organise visits.
Visit Stanley Street
The locals know the best hang out spots and Stanley Street is definitely it. It is in the middle of Richmond Hill – not that I would be able to find it without a gps – and for us Joburgers, it is similar to Parkhurst, or Greenside, but with a distinct Port Elizabethean look and feel – and also prices. We ate at the lovely Mediterranean Yiayia’s – Greek for grandmother – and I ordered a delicious lamb chop and roast veg for R69, while Flip enjoyed a pizza for R40. Eat your heart our Joburg.

My favourite about Stanley Street, besides its immense vibe, the sidewalk cafe feel and music streaming everywhere, is that all the trees were covered in fairy lights, which made it awfully romantic.

 St George’s Park
If you are a big cricket fan, like I am, then it is worth stopping over at this legendary field – the oldest one in South Africa. Have a picnic in the gardens, or play a round of garden bowls with the locals.

Cobblestone Bakery

Loved by locals and visitors alike, this cute old-fashioned bakery in Walmer will have you going back for more natural grained breads and pastries. 

The Boardwalk Hotel and Casino
Situated right on the world famous Hobie Beach, there is even a song about this beach, Sun International’s Boardwalk Hotel and Casino is a must-see. Besides the fantastic views of the ocean, it offers a number of restaurants and a lake with a light-and-sound show. Water dancing to the sound of music? Always a goody in my book.

It also offers loads of entertainment – read lots of couple fun – including a game centre, putt putt (a favourite of Flip and I), bowling, carnival and go carts. Even better, the hotel is currently running a winter special! PE is nice and warm (warmer than up here in the north) with an average of 25 degrees!

Special Offer Details

Bookings can be made online using the promotional code [WINTERSPECIAL].
This offer is valid for from 1 May to 31 August 2014.


  • Accommodation for 2 nights, inclusive of breakfast.
  • R300 Dinner Voucher.
  • Complimentary bottle of wine.
  • Daily newspaper.
  • Complimentary airport transfers.
  • VAT at 14% (subject to change).
  • 1% Tourism Levy applicable on the accommodation portion of the rate.

To make a booking, contact the hotel, located on Beach Road, in Summerstrand, at 041 507 777 or email

Go Horse riding

I remember the first time I was in Port Elizabeth. I was about ten years old and obsessed with horses, like most young girls at that age. I wanted to ride horses like my life depended on it. Luckily, PE has a number of horse trails for the equestrian enthusiasts. Take a ride on a beach, trail rides and go for a picnic.

See the History

Follow the Donkin Heritage Trail, named after the man who found PE, Sir Rufane Donkin. It stops at about 47 sites, all showcasing the rich history of this old city. Make sure to see the beautiful colonial-style library, Market Square, the Opera House and many many more.

Sardinia Bay

On the doorstep of the Chelsea Downs Nature Reserve, Sardinia Bay promises beautiful beaches, loved by sandboarders and surfers. Make it extra special and romantic and watch the sun set with your lovey.

Humewood Beach and Hobie Beach
If you are looking for a swim or perhaps even a good surfing session, hit one of South Africa’s most popular Blue Flag beaches.

Visit the Harbour (duh)

Besides a yearly major fishing competition, known as The Tuna Classic, the harbour also offers majestic scenes of ships so big you can hardly comprehend it. If you like smaller boats, the Algoa Bay Yacht Club has regular Wednesday evening Sundowner sailing open to members of the public.

Not in Port Elizabeth, but still close enough to visit:

Situated about 61 km from the city, is the delta of the Gamtoos river, where its mouth meets the ocean. Besides a few houses, there is nothing else, but nguni cows and the most beautiful lagoon and shrubs. It is worth the drive, just to see this. Along the way, you will drive down the Van Stadens Pass – breathtaking in its own right.

Addo Elephant Park

The world-famous park is about 76 km from Port Elizabeth. You can expect, besides 550 elephants, to see lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope

and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.

Even though it is one of the most unlikely places that any girl would think about for a honeymoon destination, I adored our staying in PE and my morning jogs in the wide open streets. It is definitely a place to put on your list.

*This post was sponsored by the Boardwalk Hotel
All pictures are my own except for the beaches, Boardwalk Hotel

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The other day someone asked me if there is anything I would have changed on my wedding day. Something immediately popped up in my mind. Video.

I really regret not having any video footage of this big, momentous day in my life. I miss the fact that all the private jokes, the preparation of the tables, the two brides getting married on the same day sneak-peeking each others venues, the friends freaking out because it is almost time to get married and you’re not even in a wedding dress yet, the families connecting, the speeches, the walking down the aisle, the pre-ceremony jitters, the party are all but vague memories in my mind. Mainly, because of a very tight budget. But, for future brides, there is a solution! Enter UFilm – the concept is in the name – you film, they edit.

I spoke to the creator of this amazing concept Taryn to find out more about the company she started with her sister Megan.

1. How did you start?  We lived in the UK for many years and moved back to South Africa over 2 years ago. On moving back we wanted to start our own company and knew of a very similar concept in the UK which was doing very well which is why we started Ufilm.

2. What are the services your provide? We offer two different types of service. One being an ‘edit only’ service where we are provided with the raw footage which we then edit into a professional video.

The second is our ‘videographer’ service with a difference. We hire out easy to use HD handheld cameras, our customers film their own event (most popular is weddings), they hand the cameras back and we edit the footage into a professional video. This way the footage (especially for weddings) is unscripted, natural and unique and of course doing it this way is more affordable for the customer.

The way Ufilm works is simple – we give you the easy-to-use cameras for your wedding day and people that are involved in this day are free to film wherever,  whatever and whoever they would like to. Due to the fact that there is not a formal videographer there the people being filmed will feel free to act naturally and interact with the person who is holding the camera at that stage. It gives each person that you have chosen to celebrate the day with you the opportunity to play a part in your important day.
Memories are all we have – and we at Ufilm want you to have only the best memories of a day that is to be treasured forever – Taryn

3. Where do you find inspiration for your creations? Customers come to us with the footage and a brief. This brief is used to guide us during the editing process but obviously our own creative license is allowed and this is where we can have fun with music, what footage is used, editing techniques etc. Our inspiration for each video comes from the footage itself which means every video is different and unique.

4. What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?
The main challenge is time and finding enough of it.

5. How do you perceive the South African creatives/design landscape? In South Africa creativity and design is unique and ever changing which makes it so exciting. South Africa is also a beautiful country with stunning landscapes and people which is something that is an inspiration in itself and can be seen in a lot of local work.

6. What would you do if you won the lotto?
The list is endless.

7. Where to from here? We would like to grow Ufilm into the videographer of choice for all events. What better way to capture all your special moments than through the eyes of your guests/loved ones using our cameras plus you don’t ever feel like its not professional because our job is to turn the footage into a professional video. We also want to encourage people to use all the footage they have lying around and get it edited by us into a video they will want to share and use for years to come (think holidays, birthdays, christenings etc).

8. What has been your proudest moment since you started? Seeing the tears of happiness in all our brides/grooms when they watch their video for the first time.

“Ufilm is the fun, affordable and unique option when it comes to deciding on the videographer for your special day. Your wedding day is deemed to be one of the most memorable and beautiful days in your life therefore we want to offer you the opportunity to live, and relive, this day as many times as your heart desires – with Ufilm you can do just that.” – Taryn

Here is just a little example of what these ladies are capable of doing!

Find them on Twitter and Facebook

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With the three-degree weather that just crept into Johannesburg overnight, a sense of negativity has also crept in, nestling itself in my bones. I really am not a fan of the cold and with a house that has only two north-facing windows, you can just imagine how cold it gets. To top this off, we have not had electricity since Friday. The stubborn municipality switched it off while we were at Flip’s grandma’s funeral – another element contributing to the dark sword hanging over my head. They did not give any reason as to why they switched it off and we have been between families’ houses the entire weekend, a feat in itself draining. By chance, I saw some contractors working on the pole where the electricity was switched off and the contractors said that they can’t switch it on, we have to speak to the municipality. They were right there, yet they couldn’t just flick the switch.

This morning I heard a report on the radio about a woman in Randburg blaming the city for her husband’s death, after he tried to switch their power back on and got electrocuted. Well, that bodes well for our situation. I’m not losing my husband because of bad public service, so there is no way he is getting up a ladder trying to fix it himself. It is also illegal, apparently.  To top it all off, I have countless sleepless nights. I haven’t had proper sleep since last week Monday. Flip was ill first, with flu and then some coughing fits. Those things have the tendency to keep their spouses awake. Then I got sick with sinusitis, which not only makes it impossible to breathe, but also keeps me out of my happy place – the gym. Sigh.

So to counter this negativity, I am going to share a cake recipe with you. Last year, my mother gave me a recipe folder, with all her and my favourite recipes for my kitchen tea. One of the recipes was a Strawberry Cream cake. I remember the tears of joy I cried when she gave me the folder, with this message in the front:

Aan my doggertjie wat nou al op troue staan:

Hier is ‘n paar beproefde respete wat ek so deur die jare bymekaar gemaak het. Party was uit resepteboeke. Ek het van hulle aangepas sodat dit in my smaak geval het. Daar is seker baie meer, maar ek het die uigesoek wat ekd gedink het wat ook in jou smaak sal val. Ek het dit so uitgedruk dat jy nog altyd weer kan aanvul met resepte wat jy dalk van kan onthou, maar wat ek nie nou aan gedink het nie.

Van jou eie Madder

Underneath this message she pasted this picture. I was sobbing like a baby. It was a good sob.

 Strawberry Cream Cake Recipe

First you will need to bake a layercake. My mom got this recipe in 1968 from a lady named Susan Richards, who worked with her at Drs van Tonder and Co.

Layer Cake:

Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
Beat 4 eggs until light and creamy.
Gradually add 1 and two-thirds castor sugar or normal sugar to the butter.
Next, sift 2 cups of flour, half a teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder together. Do not add to the butter mixture.
Heat 1 cup of milk and 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil in the microwave. Do not boil.
Gradually add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the egg and butter mixture.
Stir until everything is mixed, but don’t stir too much.
Bake for 25 min and let it cool off.

Strawberry Cream (recipe from my aunt and mother’s sister Esther Coetzee)

You will need:
1 tin condense milk
250 g margarine
1 lemon’s juice
1 tin (410g) strawberry jam
Beat the condense milk and margarine together. Add the lemon juice. Let it cool in the fridge.
Now add this mixture between the layers of the layercake: one side is covered in the mixture, the other side with jam. Stack cakes on each other and cover the rest of the cake with the mixture. 
Decorate the cake with strawberries and cream. 
Et voila
Strawberry cake Picture from here