(5) Things we like…#51


Been a long week with one thing and another. I got a lot done and some things came undone. But that’s the way it goes. So today’s post is short and sweet and to celebrate the week that was: I’ve selected five things … Continue reading 

Comfortable in my (sagging) skin? Not so fast

Graffiti art by Akse

Some of the advantages of living in Los Angeles: nearly perfect weather; a vibrant culture; access to a variety of fresh produce all year round ; being able to be steeped in nature if one so chooses; the beach; great … Continue reading 

Apple Sharlotka and a sweet memory of Milan.

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A million years ago I used to stay in a hotel called the Principe di Savoia in Milan. It was (and probably still is) a very regal, proper hotel. With the most wonderful bar/lounge where they had real barmen who poured old-fashioned … Continue reading 

(5) things we love…#50

dalai lama

Documentary. If you were the scion of one of the most prominent families in New York, handsome, rich and connected, would you toss it all aside to become a monk atop a mountain? That is exactly what Nicholas Vreeland (grandson … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#49

men on beach, Sarasota, FL, 2008, pg. 71-103

1. “Two” Anne Patchett and Melissa Pinney When Claudia and I set out to do this, to create Campari&Sofa together, it was the collaboration that appealed to me. While we had worked in the same company and occasional our roles had overlapped … Continue reading 

Found at sea

Catia Pellegrino

If I think of the island of Lampedusa, a tiny isle off the coast of Sicily, the southernmost point of Italy, the first thing that comes to mind is a Summer vacation I always wanted to take and never did, … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#47


One: Across America, there are dogs of all breeds riding in highways and byways in motorcycle sidecar. “Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs” is a fabulous documentary about beloved canine co-pilots and their motorcyclist companions. Funded by a kickstarter campaign: “Sit … Continue reading 

Death of the pantsuit

claire underwood dress well

I went to a lecture a couple of days ago, held by three doctors, all female, all professionals with their own practices and/or research laboratories. It certainly wasn’t a frivolous occasion and I noticed that all of them, women in … Continue reading 

I heard the nasty things you said about me …

Image by Danielle Edwards

Over the weekend I saw my pal Tash, who has had a run-in with skin cancer. She had a small, scaly scrape site, where her hair meets her brow, and had been referred to a skin specialist to get it checked … Continue reading 

Surviving Shame – how Monica Lewinsky took back her life.


In 1998 Monica Lewinsky became the very first victim of a viral outing. The news of her affair with US President Bill Clinton was broken to the world via The Drudge Report (after Newsweek had declined to run the story). … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#45


1. Hyacinths in a jam jar. Given to me over the weekend by Mercia. It’s autumn but the whole house smells like spring TED talks while making dinner – I listen to one every evening, leaving my Macbook on the … Continue reading 

Liquid Easter Eggs – the Chocolate Espresso Martini.


I love Easter – not for the death/rebirth situation – but rather for the giving of chocolate and the holiday it brings and the smell of hot cross buns whenever I go shopping. At the moment Lindt are on a … Continue reading 

Hotter than hell – Myths and facts about hot flashes


In one scene half-way through the last season of “House of Cards”, Claire (brilliantly played by Robin Wright) is seen pausing pensively in the dim light of an open fridge. When her husband Francis (Kevin Spacey), walks in and asks … Continue reading 

When heartache strikes, cookies call

Pistachio raspberry cookies

This started as a happy post about cookies. Cookies that found their way to C&S in a serendipitous manner. The day after I experimented with them, took photos and ate enough to have them morph into a brick in my … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#43

Everything is Connected

  One: You should never judge a book by its cover. Proof positive of that wise adage is this 200-year-old stone house in Linescio, Switzerland. For most of us, a crumbling stone facade would be license to tear the whole thing down and … Continue reading 

Things we love…#42


Elephants. My small elephant collection rejoiced at the news that Ringling Brothers will be phasing out elephants from their circus shows starting in 2018. Whilst a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmentalists on behalf of the elephants, which amply … Continue reading 

We’re all going on a summer holiday …. not so fast.

Image by Thomas Dzl

camparigirl and I were talking about Viggo Mortensen today. Most specifically about A History of Violence in which he is both rather good and rather naked. He is a contract killer and things go horribly and brutally wrong for him and … Continue reading 

The sharp end of social media, burn baby burn.


One of the interesting responses to the fires that raged through the Cape Town mountains the other week was the need to apportion blame. Understandable, but the sort of human response that is both unhelpful considering that Rome was literally burning, … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#41

IMG_0800 2

This week I’m feeling generally upbeat and that all things are possible. It’s nice. I saw my pal Theo for supper – he lives in the UK and we catch up each year when he comes over for the Argus … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love..#40


Dream Clothes – It was Oscar week in Los Angeles, a time when us residents avoid Hollywood Boulevard and cram in the last few nominated movies we haven’t yet seen. This year’s proceedings were probably the most boring since the … Continue reading 

And the Oscar goes to …. Rustic Chorizo and Calamari Stew


Cape Town has been hit by some horrible virus that has laid half of the city low with coughing, sniffles and weird temperature fluctuations. People who are nowhere near menopause, or even female, are experiencing hot flashes. Which filled me with … Continue reading 

The final stretch? For now, I still choose to live in the future

Golden Gate SF

Really, this post was supposed to be about food. How it became about death, I am not so sure, especially in light of my selective superstiton. Walking under ladders, black cats crossing my path don’t faze me but I haven’t … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love ….#39


It’s been a fortnight full of images: March’s international magazines are downloaded onto my iPad, hard copies of my favourite SA magazines sit in my bedside table, online mags arriving and Facebook is full of interesting bits and bobs. Sometimes I wonder if I … Continue reading 

A peek inside the creative process at Luis Vuitton

Luis Vuitton blue bag

It turns out that the iconic intertwined initials “LV” didn’t start out intertwined at all. The original logo that Monsieur Vuitton initially chose for his steam trunks were the two initials encased in a circle, an idea that Nicolas Ghesquiere, … Continue reading 

Caramel Toffees – ain’t life salty sweet?


camparigirl has alluded to my uselessness at baking in the past.  I don’t know what it is about me that causes that which is meant to rise to flop, and that which is meant to blend to separate (in food … Continue reading 

(5) things we love…on Valentine’s day

heart shaped nose elephant couple

Initially, we thought we would ignore the whole Valentine “thing” but the heart-shaped elephant in the room was too large to sidestep. So here is a list of things to enjoy on Valentine’s Day, alone, as a couple or with … Continue reading 

Lemon Bars: luscious dessert or hangover cure?

Lemon bars

Today is one of those days when I can’t see the silver lining in this aging process I am going through: I might be wiser, more interesting, more in tune with my wonderful self but it has become apparent two … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#37


1. My dog is not like other dogs. He doesn’t do dog stuff like weeing on lampposts or scratching his fleas, or drinking out of the toilet. No, my dog likes moonlight and music and walking on his tiptoes. You … Continue reading 

No room for shy retiring types …


My parent’s tales of the goings on in their retirement village are fast becoming my favourite part of the week. sofadad visited the in-house hairdresser the other day. He got a natty trim and thanked her profusely for ‘fitting him in”: “Not a problem” …. … Continue reading 

A life in the day of Gabriela M – how love can propel a dream

The Tower House now

It’s easy to look back, halfway through a life, and see patterns, intersections crossed that don’t seem so random but it’s hardly ever the case when, to borrow from Dante, we are traversing our own wood of life. Choices feel … Continue reading 

Simple Saturday Supper – roast butternut salad topped with homemade Labneh.


One of the many things I love about McGregor is the Saturday market. It’s nothing fancy – but the stallholders are all locals and they make or grow their wares and sell them very plainly on a couple of trestle … Continue reading 

On freedom, default settings and worship.

marineminiatures David Liittschwager,

Every now and then I read something that holds me captive long after I have clicked out of the site or laid the book or magazine down. Paragraphs will come back to me in fragments for days after – during savasana … Continue reading 

(5) Things We Love …#35


I’ve had a few notes from friends asking me what the hell is going on. Seems the tone of my posts lately has been a bit serious – somber, bleak. “Everything alright?’ asked one: “need me to fly over with … Continue reading 

Cauliflower is cabbage with a college education** …


sofabrother is currently trying the Banting diet . A contentious eating plan, devised by a SA Professor of Exercise and Sports Science called Tim Noakes, which promises that eating a high fat, moderate protein, green veg, brassica rich, low carb, sugar-free diet will result … Continue reading 

(5) Things We Love …#33


One: Ask A long saved holiday read from Slate magazine: the Dalai Lama’s Ski Trip. The writer, Douglas Preston, meets the Dalai Lama in Santa Fe, New Mexico and takes him skiing. The article ends: As we finished, a young waitress with … Continue reading 

(5) Things We Love…#32


Portraits of Africa: This image has been in my mind’s eye all week. It is so quintessentially and quietly African amongst all of the cacophony, violence and thunder of this huge, complex continent.  The picture was taken by Carol Beckwith and … Continue reading 

Why pomegranate reminds me of rock’n’roll and the perfect Christmas Cocktail

photo 8.22.51 PM

While I was at the neighbourhood goods market this weekend with the Nans, buying chicken pies for supper, I also picked up a bottle of pure pomegranate juice. The first place I ever tasted it was in Jerusalem, while on … Continue reading 

The more things change….

Apron housewife vacuuming den

Reading statistics doesn’t thrill me. As a matter of fact, reading any text filled with numbers tend to make me skim over it. But allow me to introduce you to some statistics I found wildly depressing. The setting: Harvard Business … Continue reading 

(5) Things We Love …#30

Anshelm Kiefer:Eddie Clarke Royal Academy

1. Sensational Art: Anselm Kiefer at The Royal Academy. Sensational Photo by our friend Eddie Clarke. 2. Smart words: Meryl Streep.  Amen sister 3.Simple Thinking: There is always an I in happiness 4. Starry Night: Safe cycling in Eindhoven. An homage … Continue reading 

What you always wanted to know about cleansing but never asked

Beets from bettysorganics.com

It’s been a few months since my trusted juicer exploded and left a mess of pineapple mush dotting the kitchen walls. I bought it fifteen years ago, when juicing was far from fashionable, even in California, and a work colleague … Continue reading 

10 Essential Ethics – for navigating pool maintenance and life.


As I was sitting on the brick surround of our pool in McG, yanking the huge pool cover into place with a hook and pinioning it down to a series of links that required me to lean in and muscle … Continue reading 

The great Thanksgiving bake off and tarte tatin demystified

Not quite a turkey - but close enough. Trafalagar Square, London

I have a friend whose ancestors came off the Mayflower. Literally. Understandably, Thanksgiving is the one holiday when she goes all out, even more so than Christmas. For me, it has been an acquired taste – my ancestors might have … Continue reading 

(5) Things We Love…#28


1. Tender In 2010, photographer Tim Flach published his extraordinary dog portraits. This year, he’s back with More Than Human (UK; public library) — a collection of striking, elegant portraits of our fellow beings. See more of Flach’s breathtaking work … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#26


1. Burned Shou Sugi Ban is the ancient Japanese art of torching timber as a way of making wood less susceptible to fire and keeping away insects and rot. The technique provides a weirdly beautiful alternative to traditional timber cladding. Once the … Continue reading 

Chic lit. How to be a Parisian – wherever you are.


Baisable is the French word for Fuckable. I tell you this as I have recently been advised to: “Always be fuckable: when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night, or … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love….in London #25

The chandelier in the entrance hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum

I just spent some time in a city that I used to call home a long time ago and that still makes me deliriously happy. I visit every so often and, while the changes are always noticeable, its spirit remains … Continue reading 

A romp through Hollywood’s closet

hedy lamar peacock costume

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has, in a few short years, gone from stodgy to trendy. I always loved the place, especially meandering around the furniture department, which is filled with recreations of rooms from different time periods. Its … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love…#26

Hunter S. Thompson graffiti

Men after our hearts – Sofagirl once told me she had met Clive Owen and she wouldn’t have minded further deepening their acquaintance (not her actual choice of words). I will confess I started watching “The Knick” on Cinemax because … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love … #23


Truisms: Artist Jenny Holzer took over the empty marquees above theatres on 42nd Street in NYC.  Instead of advertising forthcoming attractions she posted statements that reflect her “uncommon sense”.  These truths almost have the ring of proverbs.  I love how she reorders … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love…#25

Image by Dean Chalkley

Youth: Love her or hate her, Lena Dunham is hard to ignore. I am most definitely in the “love” camp because I see her as a beacon of inspiration for a new generation of smart and uncompromising young women. Ms. … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love … #24


 Poet Clive James is dying and just published this lovely poem in The New Yorker.  It’s reminiscent of the practice of Japanese Death Poems. or jisei. The essentail idea of a jisei was that as we are readying to die, our reflections on … Continue reading 

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.*


I don’t consider myself a feminist. I never have. I consider myself absolutely equal to any other human. There are people who are more intelligent than I am. Better sportsmen and women. Superior writers, artists, entrepreneurs, activists, aunts etc, etc. … Continue reading 

Soul Made – the fallacy of looking for “the one”

Paris lock bridge

Falling in love is my specialty. Sofagirl  (who recently wrote about the subject) likes to joke that my relationships have been informed by the torrid and never happy ending Russian novels I used to be so fond of. And she is … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love..#22

Can be purchased from Food52

1. Making dreams come true: If anyone at Zara is listening, please start working on knock-offs of these two dresses. The one on the left is by Dior and it keeps popping up in every single magazine in different iterations … Continue reading 

A blast from the Seventies – Chocolate Peppermint Fridge Tart

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I’m a huge fan of “Top Chef” – the US TV show that pits proper chefs (rather than Master Chef’s home cooks) against each other. And has other proper chefs evaluate their efforts. I coach them from the sofa, counselling … Continue reading 

The unforeseen cost of loving a pet


During those moments of procrastination or weakness, I can be found clicking away on the site of the boxer adoption shelter where Ottie and Portia came from. I scroll through the photos of all available boxers, read the cleverly cobbled together … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#21


1. Filed: Joan Rivers – comedienne and human being extraordinaire. Irreverent, insulting, botoxed. Kind to a fault, unfiltered, loving and loved. But this we knew, who would have thought she was supremely organised too? For the past three decades, Rivers … Continue reading 

So, this is it?

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton, in her latest book, “Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty”, summed it up best: “A smile is appreciation, and empathy, and wonder. But laughter is release. Laughter is letting go. Babies laugh three hundred times a day. Adults … Continue reading 

10 Books that have stayed with me – part 2


My friend Eddie poses interesting challenges – some more highbrow than others. Just the other day he had me testing which one of the Tarot Cards I am (The Fool) and if memory serves, a few weeks ago it was … Continue reading 

Buy a pair, give a pair – Warby Parker’s new collection


When the e-mail from Warby Parker landed in our inbox, asking us to help them spread the word about their new eyewear collection, my first instinct was: in this small patch of the web, you are preaching to the converted. And … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love …#21


The Flamingos are back, as I was sitting at the Traffic Light today a flock of 12 flew over my car and landed in the Black River, which runs along the walking track I take with Jack. It was cleaned up last year and they arrived out of the blue, in search of a mid migration snack. Now they’re back for a second visit: happens to everyone who comes to Cape Town. They’ve also shown up on fashion runways. Not sure they’d be thrilled to know. Continue reading 

10 Books that stayed with me

Oriana Fallaci

My dislike for Facebook is at times mitigated by the posts from some of my favorite people. While I will avoid vacation and children photos like the plague – what is it with wanting to showcase an unrealistic and totally … Continue reading 

Standing on ceremony.


It was my mother’s birthday dinner last night. We have a tradition at sofacasa with the Nans: each person gets to have a dinner party to celebrate the day they were born. They choose the menu (schnitzel and chips last night), set … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love…#20

Garance Dore stationery

1. Breaking news – We take reporting from the front lines for granted too often. Whether reporters and photographers put themselves in the arms of danger out of a compelling duty to report a story or to satisfy an adrenaline … Continue reading 

The Mighty Nacho Stack and Famous Guac.; a match made in Friday night heaven.


Every Friday the Nans come over after school and the weekend has begun. We have a menu of things that we do: go out for coffee or ice cream, head to the beach for a swim or surf, take a walk in … Continue reading 

Fit for a change.


I’ve been toying with changing the way that I do things. The idea is to add value to my day by lessening the amount things I put into my brain, and increasing the amount of work I expect from my body. The plan is still evolving – but I took my first step (literally) by buying a pair of running shoes, and downloading an app called “C25K” which promises to take me from the sofa to running 5 kilometers in 9 weeks. Continue reading 

(5) Things we love … #19

jean michel basquiat boy-and-dog-in-a-johnnypump

1. Intent: I want one of these for the garden in McG. Why? It looks good so I can leave it in place all summer. The Nans will love it and spend more time in the garden. It has a solar panel … Continue reading 

Cold is cold, as ice is ice.

Burton And Taylor

I wonder if I have ever had a great love affair. I've had great lovers. I've had great affairs. But I am not convinced I've ever had the two simultaneously. There was a man that I loved when I was younger, who might have fit the bill, but he couldn't keep his trousers up. And he lied with a smile. Something I didn't recognise back then, but that I can read from fifty paces now. An ability that has probably prevented both heartbreak and mad-fun in equal measure. Continue reading 

And I love the rain ….

There was a mountain there this morning.

It has been raining today. My little office is at the back of the house, in the extension – which has a tin roof. All day I have been listening to the water grow stronger and then wane. Pouring down so hard that I can’t hear myself speak on the phone, then reducing to a drizzle, barely registering on the windows.

Today feels like a crossing. A bridging from one time to another. I have given up my other few little jobs and have decided to work full time for The Lunchbox Fund – making a commitment. It has been a while since I had only one job. But it feels right, focused and solid. Continue reading 

The price of admission to happily-ever-after.


I’ve been trying to get sofamother to put together a list of her truisms for “This Much I Know”. My mother is a pretty shrewd cookie and usually doesn’t hesitate to share her opinion or wisdom. But on this she’s being uncharacteristically … Continue reading 

Location, location, lo… not so fast.


As part of the (ongoing) office snazzing up, I sold my desperately uncomfortable chair on the internet. The woman who bought it turned out to be a location scout and admired sofacasa’s high ceilings, shiny wooden floors and generous proportions. I loved seeing my home through her eyes. “Would you be interested in offering your house as a filming location?” she asked. “We have a Pamper’s commercial coming up – and they’re looking for a family home like this. The going rate is about R15 000 ($1 500) per day.” Continue reading 

Notes on a conference, if not much of a scandal – BlogHer ’14

oh, we do exist

The omens didn’t start auspicious. First, I got lost around LAX trying to find the parking lot where I was fixated my Jemima would spend a couple of nights. It turned out there was no need to hurry to the terminal, … Continue reading 

(5) Things we love…#48

Mah Jong sofa

Animal intelligence. From an interview with Sheryl Jordan, equestrian director at Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Va. “A group of young men came from Baltimore for the day as part of a program at their school, Morgan State University. … Continue reading