Something a little festive

Mooch suit

For years the fashion police have cried out against the onesie, but it is here to stay and you can slip into the stunning, home grown Mooch Suit Onesie by La Ninna Nanna after work, gym or just for relaxing at home.

The Mooch Suit is available for both men and women in soft-toned colours such as charcoal, grey melange and denim melange. The men’s onesie costs R799, boasts a hoodie with a funky print stitched on the inside and kangaroo pockets in the front. Women will pay R699 and have a wider selection of colours with soft elbow patches for extra comfort and style.

Olive Green Cat

“I’ve always wanted to do an Art Deco collection,” says Cape Town jeweller Ida Elsje. On a visit to her metal merchant in Maitland — to buy bronze and brass — Elsje noticed a “beautiful Art Deco structure next door.

“The way it was built, the way the stones were laid, inspired me. I took the solid metal pieces I’d bought there and decided to make bangles with the same patterns on them.” Elsje explains that she works with brass and bronze because she is “completely gold-obsessed, and I like to make really big pieces. But it’s unaffordable to make them in gold”, and so she substitutes the more accessible sheen of the alloys.

“Gold doesn’t tarnish, but brass and bronze do,” she adds, “although the more you wear it the more [the tarnish] goes away. It’s the only visual difference, really; and a lot of my customers like the tarnished look.”

The DEC.O bangles — best worn stacked — each start out as a “solid, thick piece of bronze”. Elsje draws her designs onto the metal in permanent marker before cutting out the shapes. The art deco facets are then tooled and filed by hand, ziggurats and triangles and motifs — themselves originally inspired by the shapes and forms of ancient Egypt, the lost Aztec and Mayan civilisations, the exotic geometry of African art.

Elsje has also produced a number of rings for her collection. They are not cut from solid metal but cast, using the lost wax carving method: Elsje crafts each piece in sculpting wax; this is used to create a mould into which the bronze is cast (the wax disappears when the mould is fired, hence “lost wax”).

Elsje then painstakingly carves out finer detail onto the ring — onto the shank and the setting and the “face”, with a metal centrepiece instead of a gem. “It looks like it has a stone,” Elsje explains, “but it’s all one piece.”

DEC.O by Ida Elsje is priced from R1 500 to R4 500 per piece. and

Fit for an Africa queen

Lorna Scott of Inverroche Distillery says that the idea behind their recently launched Botanique fynbos brandy liqueur was to “create something more traditionally styled — not like so many of the one-dimensional modern liqueurs (which Scott compares to ‘milkshakes, even the ones without cream’). We went back and revisited the original liqueurs, the ones crafted by monks and monasteries.”

The approach, then, Scott says, was to create a medicine, taking base alcohol and infusing it with “spices and herbs and fruits, to extract and concentrate those extraordinary medicinal properties.”

The liqueur would sit and steep for many years before being sweetened, to make it more palatable (although, in many cases, the infusion was left as is).

Inverroche already produces a range of gin, rum and liqueurs — all made in small batches, all “incorporating a range of rare indigenous flora”.

For the Botanique, Scott says, they wanted to “intensely capture the essence of the fynbos.”

To do this, they made a “base brandy with our own grapes, then infused it with a rich blend of coastal and mountain fynbos” which brought floral and woody notes.

Local fruits were added (Inverroche is near Still Bay in the Western Cape), before leaving the preparation to sit for three years in a wooden barrel.

At the very end of the process, the elixir is sweetened with agave nectar that is now produced in the Karoo. The finished product is “very simple but traditional, and intensely flavoured,” Scott says.

“It’s not a liqueur you drink over ice. I serve the smallest drop in a tall crystal glass, together with a sharp cheddar or a strong stilton, a ripe brie, and maybe a fresh fig. It has rich complexity.”

A colleague of Scott’s compared the liqueur to the smell of the African veld after a rain shower on a hot summer’s day. The full quote now appears on the back of the bottle — which, Scott says, she encourages people to keep: “It’s beautiful glass, imported from France. They look like perfume bottles.” Botanique Liqueur R250 for 375ml .

Family picnic

The eternal Christmas hamper is no longer the poor cousin of the wrapped Christmas gift, especially when it contains nearly R4 000 of delectable goodies carefully nestled within the embrace of a willow basket, and surrounded by gorgeous cutlery and plates.

The family Christmas picnic basket set from the Gift Lady comes with a 14-piece cutlery set with wooden handles, ceramic mugs and side plates alongside gourmet lavender salt and pepper, honey-dipped banana chips and a bottle of La Couronne Muscadel 2011. The basket can be delivered to your front door in time for you to wrap it and slip it under the tree and will cost you R3 760.

Carry on … in style

Red remains the colour du jour and what better way to celebrate its vibrancy than with leather and Christmas.

For the lady who travels a lot on business, this Chapel leather carryall in red offers both style and convenience.

The interior of the bag is compartmentalised to accommodate shoes in their own section (to avoid them messing up your clothes) along with extra pockets and seams for storing clothes, intimates and make-up.

It is on sale at Style 36 for R2 850. It can be delivered for free and is made from natural, vegetable tanned leather with double shoulder straps for extra comfort while on the move.

The eyes have it

The summer holidays are a fabulous time for going out and appreciating the African bush, so why not get the bird spotter or animal lover in your life a pair of Sony Dev-5 Digital Recording Binoculars.

These are a world first in full high-definition digital wildlife recording where you can now view and capture distant birds and beasts for posterity.

You get advanced features, such as 3D shooting and optical stabilisation along with 20x digital zoom and video recording. This year’s trip to the bush definitely won’t be met with moans of, “I can’t see” or “Darn, I forgot my camera”.

These are on sale for R18 303 at Purple Fly Trading.

Searching for celestial beings
The Celestron SkyProdigy 130 computerised telescope is something of a star lover’s dream come true.

This telescope has been built to give the modern stargazer the ultimate astronomy experience with an intelligent onboard computer, a digital camera and its exclusive StarSense technology.

With this device the lucky recipient can instantly align their sights without wasting time fiddling with buttons and levers, they need only tap a button to relax and enjoy the view of African night skies.

On sale at Outdoor Depot for R9 775 the Celestron SkyProdigy is definitely one for the discerning gift giver this Christmas.

Paper menagerie

Snap up a set of Heather Moore’s Skinny laMinx’s new laser-cut “domestic animal” cards (and remember, a dog/cat/bunny card doesn’t just have to be for Christmas). Domestic animal cards, R45 each

Banana brothers
The chef who has everything will want something novel to brighten their table and kitchen, fortunately Yuppie Chef have it all sorted out with their Alessi Banana Brothers salt and pepper shaker set.

To cute for school the brothers are made from thermoplastic resin and are as tough as, well, old banana skin so they won’t break in a household of festive kids.

You can find the Banana Brothers set on sale at Yuppie Chef for R460 and they will be delivered to an address of your choice for free. Just make sure they don’t clash with the kitchen colour scheme.

Carrol Laid

Laid back chips and dips are the epitome of South African Christmas cool, so what better way to show that hostess in your life that you love the way they work.

This stunning Carrol Boyes chip and dip bowl, entitled Laid Back, sells for R2 995 and is made from more than 3kg of aluminium.

Use for chips on Christmas day or fill one bowl with strawberries and another with cream for a delectable sunny afternoon treat.

You can order online for a seamless door-to-door delivery without having to sweat with the masses in the malls.

A smarter option
Tap into the smartwatch trend with the Pebble Watch. It can go in the shower, it can fit any wrist and there are colours to match the personality of the person who is lucky enough to receive it. Made famous by its Kick-starter roots, the Pebble is on sale for $150 and is shipped for free worldwide.

Now you need only glance at your wrist to check your emails, answer a call, find your phone or lose yourself in gadget bliss.

The Pebble can be customised, has an exceptional battery life, vibrating alarms and plenty of apps for total control over smartphone and smartwatch alike.

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