I wanted to thank each of the sponsors who donated vouchers and goodies for the Ask Ashe blog giveaway. Every single one of them is amazing, with generous people behind each brand and oodles of creativity and kindness between them.
Cupcake Couture is the brainchild of Nadia, who I met through blogging and who is now also my neighbour! :) Nadia oozes style and creativity from every pore, she’s one of the kindest people I know and her talent is stupendous – she can transform everyday items into keepsakes and add amazing flourishes to an outfit or package that take them to another level. You can find her handmade creations at the monthly I Heart Markets or contact her through her website if you’re in the market for a blog of your own or need a creative consultant. She’s helpful, patient and very clever at putting packages together for businesses, which she tailor makes for each individual.
Daniela’s has been on the Durban scene for just over a year now. Originally from Cape Town, we were introduced to the magic deliciousness of Daniela Dotan’s macaroons, brownies and sweet treats at the I Heart Markets each month and now have 2 branches of Daniela’s in Durban in Hillcrest at the Heritage Market Centre and opposite Gateway in Palm Boulevard. Daniela is somewhat of a magician and the smooth-shelled, beautifully-coloured, lip-smackingly-delicious macaroons she makes are a marvel. I tried her poached pears too recently and literally wanted to get my head in the jar they were so good! If you’ve never had one of her macaroons though, you haven’t lived!
Vamp is an amazing store in Cape Town which I initially discovered online and have since visited every time I’ve had time when in the mother city. Paula is the wonder-woman behind this gem, who has a keen eye and bloodhound nose for sniffing out the most amazing retro furniture from around the Western Cape and having it transformed back to life with either a lick of paint or funky new upholstery. The Vamp store in Woodstock is packed with furniture I just want to drive back to Durban every time I visit and Paula also now stocks a wide range of SA and international creatives work, including Mengsel, Lauren Fowler, Sootcookie, Skinny laMinx and Sobeit, as well as retro kitchenalia and collectibles. I will one day fill a truck and drive it back to Durbs, promise!
Livingston’s is Durban’s only ‘gastropub’, which essentially means it’s an upmarket pub with a strong focus on great food – there’s no slap chips and soggy fish in sight here, rather whet your appetite with crispy tempura battered hake and chips with mushy peas – that’s more like it! Or try one of their homemade pies, topped with a traditional pastry crust or more delicate phyllo pastry, or perhaps bangers and mash, or eisbein, or a rib eye steak, or…. Yeah I could go on and on – I’ve tried them all and they’re ridiculously good!
They have great specials and a once-a-month comedy quiz night, as well as regular live music – check out their website for more details.
I’ve had a fair share of salon sessions in my life time and the only person I now trust to brandish the blue-black hair dye is Alex from Carlton Hair. There’s not much that can beat the feeling you get ‘when you just stepped out of a salon’ – admit it, you know the feeling! I always make sure I have a whole afternoon to fit in a colour, cut and treatment – oh, and a head massage – they are sublime! Carlton has salons across SA, find one, your hair will thank me later!
iKhaya is one of my favourite stores in Durban – I’ve long been a fan of the beautiful frames, furniture, lighting, notebooks, Jacaranda dolls and other knick knacks that Rhenda and her husband lovingly restore, source and make. I have to limit myself to the number of times I visit their store in Windermere Road, but the first opportunity to buy a gift for a friend or source something cool for a shoot or event, and I’m in there like a shot! Soon I hope to have a whole lot more of their stuff in the Ask Ashe Abode, come on lotto!
Mint is Durban’s ‘Retired Goods Company’ run by Kirsty who is a self-confessed car boot market trawler. Thank goodness she is! The treasures she discovers are sold daily through her website – you’ve got to be quick though, these items are snapped up quick! I’ve personally bought some retro stacking stools, a set of white pyrex mixing bowls and an old school dumb valet from Mint, and as soon as my kitchen is complete, I’m going to be on the lookout for more pyrex – I love the graphic, one-colour printed bowls, so am on the look-out!
Thank you again to each of the sponsors, you all rock!