Skip to content

Subscribe to campari&sofa and receive new posts via email

Featured Post

(5) Things we love…#69

Posted in Uncategorized

BARBER-580x580Only optimistic things to love this week.

One: … but not the Dog: On Rafael Mantissa’s thirtieth birthday, his wife left him. She took their cookware, their furniture, their photos, the lot. She left Rafael alone in an empty all-white apartment. The only thing she didn’t take was their bull terrier, whom she’d named after her favorite shoe designer: Jimmy Choo. Read More(5) Things we love…#69

Featured Post

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a lumpectomy

Posted in Health

Noguchi museum

Day 0 starts with a lot of nervousness but goes off with military precision. I leave the house at 5:30 am armed with newspaper, Gary Shteyngart’s autobiography (because the man can make me laugh) and crossword puzzles. I know there will be a lot of waiting around and, in the end, it is the crossword puzzles, forcing me to think hard without letting other thoughts in, and some breathing exercises, that restore my calm. By the time the doctors wheel me into the operating theatre, with a healthy dose of a happy drug in my veins, I am positively giddy and without a care in the world.

Read MoreThis Thanksgiving I am thankful for a lumpectomy

Featured Post

The Perfect Chili Lime Salt.

Posted in Food & Entertaining

Lot's wife - salt wasn't a happy discovery for her.
The Dead Sea – salty source of kosher salt.

I drove camparigirl crazy in NYC.

We went out for brunch with her pal Bettina and I had a sneaky cocktail. It seemed rude not to when there were at least 10 on the menu that I would like to have tried. The cocktail was okay – but the salt around the glass was fabulous. Punchy chile-lime umami-ness… I licked the rim.  “Oh you can find it everywhere,” the waiter assured me.

Well – we tried everywhere. We tried some everywheres twice. I even emailed the maker…. nothing. Eventually I settled for a lime salt from Williams Sonoma. And lugged it home with me. Opened excitedly and rejected immediately: nasty chemical-lime tasting stuff. Read MoreThe Perfect Chili Lime Salt.

Featured Post
Featured Post
Featured Post
Featured Post

Fear can be useful – lessons from a punk rocker.

Posted in Life & Love, and Relationships

Found online, uncredited.

I thought I would end this week with some wise words.

camparigirl and I have both written about the impact the Patti Smith concert had on us. For her it was to get out of her head and back into her youth – a reminder that challenges could be overcome. For me it was clearing out the cobwebs and sketchy dragons that have been lurking in my mental bat-caves.

Read MoreFear can be useful – lessons from a punk rocker.

Featured Post

Spaetzle: the other pasta

Posted in Food & Entertaining

green spaetzle

I hope my German friends will forgive me when I say that German food places way down the list of cuisines I ever crave. More like…never. Germany is a country I know intimately: I started visiting early in life because my family had friends and my dad loved it. I remember with much fondness long car drives through the Rhine valley, holidays spent in Heidelberg, the Black Forest. What I remember less fondly are mealtimes.

Read MoreSpaetzle: the other pasta

Featured Post

Nothing to fear but fear itself.

Posted in Life & Love, and Relationships

12190111_936820676397673_4984784822414681333_nOne of the effects of our time in New York was that it turned down the noise in camparigirl’s mind. Dampening it to a soft burr: one she could tolerate as we tramped the streets of Manhattan. At times, though: the hum would amplify from white noise to an audible crackle, a sharp blast of feedback. I would hear it happen – and watch as the din changed the way she interacted with the people bedevilling her on the phone. I saw how it blurred her immediate environment and telescoped her in on a possibility – one that made her soul shriek and holler.

One we never named.

Read MoreNothing to fear but fear itself.

Featured Post
Featured Post

(5) Things we (love to eat in NYC)…#67

Posted in Food, and Things We Love

Bright lights, Big City
Bright lights, Big City – the central hall at the new Whitney Museum

This week we are going to tell you about some fabulous food we had during our most excellent vacation in NYC.  We are not going to bother with the restaurants that let us down (yes Shake Shack, we’re referring to you) – because that would be the wrong way to remember our adventure. Instead we are going to tell you about some restaurants or food stalls that will have us remembering them with love, smacked lips and happy discovery.

Read More(5) Things we (love to eat in NYC)…#67

Featured Post

The girl inside

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

Leaves Eddie

My stepchildren, when they were much younger, used to tell me I was weird and yes, I did not fit the mold of the suburban mothers they were surrounded by: I did not drive a minivan, I cursed every school sale that filled our house with more gift wrapping paper we could possibly need, and my healthy after practice juices and snacks were gloriously vilified. Under that perceived weirdness, I came to realize they were rather proud of having an eccentric “mother” who made mac and cheese from scratch, who insisted on working outside the house and whose wardrobe was pretty cool.

Read MoreThe girl inside

Featured Post

The Perfect Lime Berry Michelada.

Posted in Food, Food & Entertaining, and Things We Love

IMG_3569camparigirl and I both love Mexican food. But the real, real kind – not the mushy-allthrowntogether-nonsense that passes for this fabulous cuisine in some parts of the world. She can’t eat cilantro – and both of us would prefer a more restrained use of onions – but when the ingredients are fresh and the spicing is spot on – there is nothing better.

Read MoreThe Perfect Lime Berry Michelada.

Featured Post

Life unplugged.

Posted in Life & Love


We watch dogs and cats videos on Facebook until tears stream down our faces. We lounge around in our pajamas, sipping coffee, late into the morning, before deciding how the day should play out. We discard invitations to hip gallery openings, for which we don’t have any appropriate clothing anyway, in favor of a night on the couch binge watching “Last Tango in Halifax”. We wait in line for 20 minutes for a fitting room inside Zara, a pile of clothes in our arms, with a patience we don’t otherwise possess in our other life. We don’t even get irritated when we board the wrong train and end up taking an hour, late at night, to get back home instead of the customary 20 minutes.

Read MoreLife unplugged.

Featured Post
Featured Post

(5) Things we love (about New York)…#66

Posted in Things We Love

Whitney rabbitI suffer from a bit of New York envy at the moment. All in all, I still think Los Angeles wins the race in the long run but this city dazzlingly array of options when it comes to virtually anything, so very neatly arranged within easy reach, just can’t be beat. And the energy is wonderful, if not sustainable.

Read More(5) Things we love (about New York)…#66

Featured Post

The challenges of middle-aged travel. And they are not what you think they are.

Posted in Aging, Life & Love, and Women's issues

Image by the fmmensely funny Chaz Hutton
Image by the immensely funny Chaz Hutton

So a couple of challenges have presented themselves over the past days in NYC. Realisations about ourselves that neither of us had anticipated. Nor welcomed. Proof that no matter how much we may say the opposite – things have changed. We are not the women we once were.

Read MoreThe challenges of middle-aged travel. And they are not what you think they are.

Featured Post

Quick and easy poached eggs

Posted in Food & Entertaining

Poached eggsOn my first New York morning, I meandered into the kitchen in my flannel polka dot pajamas to explore what sofa girl had bought for breakfast.
“Do you want poached eggs?” I asked, my head still inside the fridge.
“Sure” was the uncertain response that came from the living room. “You know how to make them?” Read MoreQuick and easy poached eggs

Featured Post

The more things change – the more they stay the same. Thank God.

Posted in Life & Love, and Relationships

11988461_10154249178716982_3819069171239210227_nI’m writing this from a sofa in Brooklyn, at 10.29 am, still in my pyjamas, after a breakfast that included steel-cut oatmeal with honey and berries and a giant mug of hot sweet coffee. Camparigirl has been bustling around the apartment with the vacuum cleaner (we’ve been here four days) and I now hear the sploshing of water – which means she has a mop out too. All of which makes me smile.

campari&sofa was created on another sofa, in Rome, three years ago. And, while we Skype every week and email all the time: we haven’t hung out together since. But the scene in our rented apartment in an almost-hip part of a suburb over the water from Manhattan, just proves that the more things change the more they stay the same. We could be right back in the eternal city or even further back:  in our little flat, in Stockwell, living directly above the northern line – 25 years ago. Here’s why: Read MoreThe more things change – the more they stay the same. Thank God.

Featured Post
Featured Post

(5) (Horrible) Things We Love…#65

Posted in Life & Love, and Things We Love

(Image copyright Christine McConnell)

Well, it’s Halloween and even though Halloween is not a ‘thing’ in South Africa,  I am in currently in NYC it would be downright rude of me to ignore it. So, for your edification and creepy delight – here are five rather fine celebrations of that totally terrifying holiday.

Read More(5) (Horrible) Things We Love…#65

Featured Post

The unexpected value of shock

Posted in Health

children mannequinsMy Sunday night (not so) guilty pleasure is settling on the couch with human and canine family members and spend an hour inside the head of Carrie Mathison. The heroine of “Homeland” is a CIA operative who spends most of her waking hours fighting terrorism. This is the short version. Oh, she is also bipolar. Despite the criticisms of employing Arab actors of the wrong ethnicity and an all around portrayal of Muslims as terrorists, the show is nonetheless enormous fun, mostly because of the complex character Claire Danes embodies.

Read MoreThe unexpected value of shock

Featured Post

The Perfect Grilled Grapefruit.

Posted in Food & Entertaining

FullSizeRender 27We have the most wonderful grapefruit in SA – fat, pinky-golden orbs that are a far cry from the green-yellow mouth puckering ones I remember from my childhood. Ok I know that’s probably what grapefruit should be like – but time and genetic tinkering have wrought changes to the mighty sour-citrus: happy ones I think. So, when I saw a half-dozen of the pink variety being hawked in a string bag at the side of the road, I knew I had to take them home with me. Partly, because I immediately fancied a grapefruit g’n’t (introduced to me by Gav’n’Goobie and adored ever since), but also because I suddenly had a craving for the burnt sugar-crunchy, hot, grilled treat I used to make as a kid. Back when sweets were something we only ate on Sundays, but grapefruit and white sugar were available all week.

Read MoreThe Perfect Grilled Grapefruit.

%d bloggers like this: