Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wellington Chocolate Factory

Tucked up an inconspicuous alley (the type you might otherwise try and avoid), in 5 Eva Street, is Wellington's answer to chocolate done right.

A veritable cornucopia of delights, this bean to bar chocolaterie in the centre of Wellington's CBD is a treat.

Beans are processed, magic is made, chocolate emerges.

What more could a chocoholic ask for?

The hot chocolate (NZ $5) can be made with either cow's milk or soya milk, and you have a choice between 70% Peruvian or Dominican chocolate.

If you like a fruity, sweet taste, Peruvian is your thing.
If you prefer rich and malty (which I recommend), try the Dominican.

Believe me when I say, this might be the best hot chocolate you might ever taste.

Each cup is filled half-way with chocolate, and then steamed/frothed milk is poured over that, bringing it up to the brim of the cup. Your chocolate of choice is then sprinkled on top.

It is outrageously good. So good, in fact, that we went back for both consecutive weekends of the two weekends we were in Wellington to seek it out.

Each slab (NZ $13.50) is hand wrapped in both foil and an artistic thick paper cover, and sealed with a sticker.

We tried both the 70% hazelnut and the coconut milk chocolate (52% cocoa solids + dairy free + made with coconut sugar). Both were excellent.

It is wonderful to see the craftsmanship behind this artisanal chocolate.

If you ever find yourself in Wellington, New Zealand - find yourself in the Wellington Chocolate Factory.


Address: 5 Eva Street, Te Aro, Wellington.

By Bus: Wellington's bus system is hard to beat in terms of cost and convenience. Safe, friendly and clean (especially in comparison to Melbourne's disgustingly dirty trams), buy yourself a Snapper card, load money on it and tag on/off wherever you feel like going. 

Catch any bus which runs past Courtenay Place. Alight at Manners Street, close to Arty Bees Books, Walk up Cuba Street, take a left at Dixon and a right into Eva Street. Look closely to find the sign for WCF. It's worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

FOOD: Coconut Yoghurt + A Tasty Recipe

Yellow Split Peas with Coconut Yoghurt and Wile Rocket Leaves

Fierce Wellington Winds A Blowin'...
Wellington winds gust strong.
Damn strong.

All well and fine if you can stay in doors, and watch the view above from the safety and comfort of an insulated studio apartment with heating. 

Not so great if you have to head out to walk around, catch buses, etc.

This weather calls for a hearty meal.
The kind that warms the cockles of your thawing bones and is healthy to boot.

Enter coconut yoghurt.
And may I say: GENIUS idea!

Dairy-free. Gluten-free. Lactose-free.
Probiotics = affirmative.
No added sugar.
Tastes? Excellent!

Picked up a tub of this beauty at Commonsense Organics in Wakefield Street, Wellington City.

Boy-oh-boy, is that a fun place to visit!

For those working at a rather extreme exchange rate disadvantage (*cough*), watch yourself in this place. You will burn through a whole lotta cash before you even blink!

Yellow Split Peas with Coconut Yoghurt and Wild Rocket

This is really more about assembly than a "recipe" per se.

Substitute a thick, creamy yoghurt for the coconut yoghurt if it isn't available in your location.  

The tangy tartness of yoghurt balances the richer flavours of the split peas, while the peppery textured crunch of wild rocket seals the deal on a hearty meal. 

Step 1: Rocket (arugula).
Step 2: Warm, soft, freshly cooked yellow split peas seasoned with salt.
Step 3: Dollop of creamy (coconut) yoghurt to finish off a delightful dish.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

TRAVEL: Epic Adventures - Te Anau and Doubtful Sound

Shores of Lake Te Anau at the start of the 67km Kepler Track on New Zealand's South Island.

I'm one of those people who used to cry as a child when holidays were over because I didn't want the fun to end.

I still don't.

And sometimes I still cry at the end of holidays.

When undertaking an epic nine week adventure, as I currently am, one has to shift one's perspective on leaving places slightly, because you are doing it (a lot).

Of course, leavings are juxtaposed with arrivings, so things even out.

But still, I found myself on the deck of a boat, cruising one of the most remote and inaccessible locations of New Zealand's South Island on the weekend - Doubtful Sound.

Accessed only by a boat ride across lake Manapouri, a bus ride along a private road (owned and maintained by Meridian Energy) through a treacherous (snow covered!!!) pass, down to the water's edge of Doubtful Sound.

Doubtful Sound was, apparently, shrouded in doubt when Captain Cook was't sure if his ship's sails would fit through the Sound.

This place is remote. And magical.

It is not often in one's life when one feels one is truly in a wild place, with a hint of OMG freedom attached to the thought of being at such a remote and southern location that the inevitable thought arises:
Is this the most remote and isolated place I will ever be in my life? Is this it in terms of experiences like this?

I am OCD that way. Way too much forward thinking.

Enter a case of the feels.

Boo hoo. I am having this amazing life experience that has a time frame attached. Call the Waaaambulance.

Ag, anyway. That's the way I roll.

It was epic. The moment(s) were epic. 

This trip is epic.

And hopefully, I will get to see some more cool and remote and wild and free shit still as long as I am riding this merry-go-round.

After all, if you're here, you already won the genetic lottery ticket.

May as well ride that horsey till it wears out (or you do). 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

FOOD: Chia Pods

Love this sugar-free, dairy-free, high fibre, energy boosting little snack I came across in a Woolworths in Newcastle, AU.

While they might not be available in South Africa (yet), the ingredients are simple enough that you could make them at home quite easily (and probably a whole lot cheaper per portion as well).

These would be perfect for a quick brekkie, lunchbox snack or anytime you were craving a little something for flagging (jet lagging) energy levels.

Homemade version: 
Soak chia seeds in coconut milk overnight. Add vanilla seeds and cinnamon to taste. A little natural sweetner like coconut sugar or honey wouldn't go amiss either. Store in the fridge.

Did you know?
Chia seeds are the super food referred to in Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

FOOD: By Nature (preservative free)

Dried olives, mangoes, raisins and raw walnuts.
I have been adoring medjool dates of late, which have turned my tastebuds up to full volume in craving dried fruits.

Cue the search for preservative-free dried fruits that don't cost a ton.

Enter By Nature and Tierhoek.

Tierhoek I've known and loved for a while now (OMG their dark chocolate covered apricots!), but By Nature is new to me (maybe not so much to Capetonians). 

I just got my stash delivered from the online shop Faithful-to-Nature and called the supplier to make 100% sure there are no preservatives in the fruits. Peter assured me that they cater for the preservative-free demographic (aka. those people who hack and cough-up their pleura/turn red/whose throats close-up/who have asthma/etc. who are allergic to preservatives). In addition, most of their products are organic as well. Bonza!

Honest to goodness preservative free dried fruits!

I've started-in on the dried mangoes. I don't know if I will be able to stop. Deeeeelish!

Nature's sweeties :)

Dried plums and mixed fruit (apples, peaches, apricots and such).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


You know when you read something and your brain just goes WHOOSH in an Eli Cash - Royal Tenenbaums "Pew....wildcat" kind of way?

"Getting rid of the clutter, excess, and all the things that were distracting me, made room to figure out what I wanted. I wanted freedom. Freedom from the things that weighed me down, and freedom to want what I wanted and time to do what it took to get it, and enjoy and appreciate it."

Well, that was my brain a while ago which helped a closet overflowing and chock-a-block with 15 years worth of this:

Take it ALL out, try it ALL on...
transition via many, many, many loads of these:

Donate it ALL...
and fuelled by lots of this:

Nigiro's Ceylon Pettiagalla tea...
and saying goodbye to these (which were so pretty but I had never worn):

These held the promise of an (un)fashionably broken ankle...
to this:

That is IT
Summer and Winter. 
Nothing hidden (shoes live separately - a post for another day). Nothing in the wash.


  1. The TOP top shelf holds a bag with my swimming gear. Next to that, a bag with a few Winter hats (my ears protest wind) and a pair of gloves. To the right of that, my "I'm not ready to let go of these/maybe I will wear these sometime" pile.
  2. The top shelf holds a bag with two woolen Winter jerseys, and another bag with some transition season lighter cardigans.
  3. The first of the smaller shelves holds my yoga teaching gear and workout wear.
  4. One shelf down holds undies and pyjama sets.
  5. The 2nd last shelf holds my basics: 2 pairs of jeans, 2 denim skirts (1 midi + 1 maxi), 2 pairs of denim shorts and 4 good-quality t-shirts that can be dressed up or dressed down with accessories (1 in red + black + blue + white).
  6. The bottom shelf holds socks and slippers in a basket.
  7. Hanging: 2 heavy Winter coats + 2 fitted blazers + 1 linen jacket + 1 soft-shell + some scarves/pashminas + 4 dresses + 2 cotton skirts + 3 collared cotton shirts.
Realisations so far:
  • I used to wear only a small portion of my clothes over and over again. Boring.
  • I hung on to clothing for far too long - items I had worn in my teens and twenties (I have been the same dress size since the 10th grade). Although the size still fits, the style no longer does. Honesty in this regard is vital for this process to work. People change. Roll with it.
  • I cared less about the quality of the garments, and wore my favourites (that were actually LESS my favourites and more just sloppy convenience), even when the quality had deteriorated with fading/piling/small holes in the fabric. I am now aspiring to Jennifer L. Scott's lesson from Madame Chic about using only your best, and I am liking the results.
  • I am far less overwhelmed when opening my cupboard because I have so much less to go through. Part of trying EVERYTHING on during the paring down phase was also making matching outfits. I now know what goes with what, thereby putting an end to the: "I have nothing to wear" in a closet FULL of clothes conundrum.
Highly recommended resources:

Tips for decluttering and paring down minimalist-style.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fashion: Body Shop Make-Up

The Body Shop is having a fabulous 3 for 2 sale. Can I get a "woot"?

I just happened to mosey on in to the Brooklyn branch to pick-up a new tube of BB cream when I happened upon the sale. 

Since I also wanted to try their new Extra Virgin Minerals Loose Powder Foundation, I thought I'd throw in a new puffy make-up brush for said foundation powder, and cash-in on the 3 for 2 offer.

I haven't used loose powder foundation since finding out about my corn allergy and realising that a large number of the varieties available in South Africa are talc-based, which may or may not include corn starch (which, in retrospect, certainly explains the years of skin rashes and itching after applying powder foundation).

So the great thing about this Extra Virgin Minerals Loose Powder Foundation is the distinctive lack of talc. It contains:
Mica (Opacifier), Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen), Kaolin (Absorbent), Illite (Anticaking Agent). [+/- CI 77492 (Colour), CI 77491 (Colour), CI 77499 (Colour), CI 77891 (Colour)].

On the subject of great Body Shop products, their Hemp Hand Protector has been a staple in my Winter toiletry kit since 2000. Nothing overcomes the Highveld's dry-skin cracking tendencies like this stuff does (especially for obsessive hand washers such as myself).

I love this video where Carrie Peterson explains her daily make-up routine and how she makes her own powder foundation powder using arrow root powder and cocoa powder. Clever!

I love wearing a hint of mascara on my upper lashes but had to throw my new Yardley one out after it made my eyes sting and burn and tear-up.

If you know of a great mascara that is particularly good for sensitive eyes, please tweet me. I'd appreciate it!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fighting the good (immune) fight

This Winter has been a good one in terms of illness for me. 
I have managed to dodge the majority of bugs which have come knocking at my door due, in large part I believe, to daily (sometimes twice daily) yoga sessions. 

As those of you with autoimmune diseases can attest, this is no small feat.

However, there is something about the unholy triumvirate of changing seasons + a bit too much dairy + a sugar attack (hello slab of mint Lindt I comfort ate in the time span of a day) which kicked me in the metaphorical nuts. The throat tingle my husband brought home after sharing a classroom with a strep throat sufferer turned, for me, into a raging and lingering sinus/strep/chesty type infection which I am still fighting a week later.

Determined not to hot foot it to the doctor for a course of antibiotics if I can possibly help it, I have chosen instead to turn to the following mini arsenal, starting of course with the age old wisdom of:

  1. REST! Nothing to it but to do it - even when you are an antsy mo fo like myself who struggles to sit still.
  2. GINGER TEA. Fresh ginger. Boiled water. Feel the soothing and burning properties on an inflammed throat.
  3. ACC 200. There's a delicate way to say this, but I'm not going to find it. This stuff loosens up the mucous (aka snot) so that you can hack it out - great, big, green globs of it!
  4. LOCABIOTAL. Anti-bacterial. Antifungal. Anti-inflammatory. Spray the throat. Spray the nose. Hope for the best. Burns like a bastard.
  5. WILD OREGANO OIL. This is a new one I haven't tried. Simmy brought some home for me yesterday, so it is a brand new soldier in my fight. Apparently, it is touted as being nature's antibiotic. We'll see how it goes.
  6. DETOX YOGA. Granted, for the past six days my pressured head has balked at the thought of hanging upside down in downward dog and just having a shower has sent my heart into a frenzied flutter, but no matter. Today I started practising what I preach and incorporated a few detoxing poses into my standing moments, right here next to the bed. Keep the lymphatic system happy and what not.
So there you have it!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Link Love: Fun Reading This Week

I loved this post by Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl fame about gratitude and an appreciation for the mundane days.

Shenee's experience at a gym reminded me of two things: (1) Why I myself no longer go to gyms (but prefer to exercise in the quiet of nature), and (2) why I love taking a non-sizeist and non-elitist approach to teaching yoga at Tree of Life Yoga.

Yearning for minimalism and redefining your feelings about "stuff"? Courtney Carver of Be More With Less has a few suggestions on this topic.

Ashley Riordan eloquently has more to say on the topic.

And finally, for some kick-ass listening while reading, go no further than alt-J and their song: 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gluten-Free Travel: Scenes from Dublin

University College Dublin, coffee shop, dark chocolate, fortuitous signed copy of a Liz Ryan book.

University College Dublin, terriers everywhere checking out the water fowl sitch.

Fiji Coffee Bar, gluten-free baked goodies available routinely everywhere, imagine that.

Fiji Coffee Bar, vintagey juice bottle design, nice.

Hired a Raleigh bike, main form of transport regardless of the weather (soooo much rain!), fell in love with it - perfection.

Teapigs, rooibos is so international!