Motif/Bear&Bloom Feature {+giveaway}

Monday, July 21, 2014

When you have boundless creativity, a beautiful inspirational family {including a little baby girl with the biggest blue eyes you ever did see} and immense talent, then you might sound like a fictional character, or someone featuring in an overseas magazine - you know, those ones that looks like Pinterest on a page. But, in fact, you are local powerhouse Jessica Anne Barnard.

Following the birth of little baby Lila Bear, as her parents so lovingly call her, they started a photography business AND just yesterday Jessica launched a new endeavour known as Motif. She tells The Sun House more.

 photo motif.jpg
Jess, you are a mother, designer and photographer. How did you start and how long have you been doing this? 

Design and photography both started out as hobbies. I have a basic knowledge of graphic design and am always happiest when crafting my craft. I also can't remember a time when Gary and I weren't shooting. Especially Gary, he has this mad raw talent when it comes to taking photographs. It was the arrival of our baby girl Lila Bear that was THE push forward for us. I really battled to find inexpensive non-permanent modern decor for my sweet girl's nursery, so I did what I always do, I made it myself. First the decals, then the mobile. When Bear was born people really started to take not of our pictures. The feedback from all our friends and followers on social media sights was astounding! When the universe is screaming at you to do something you can't ignore itBoth MOTIF and BEAR & BLOOM are brand spanking new. We've been shooting semi-professionally for just over a month now and I just launched MOTIF yesterday actually :)   

What sort of products do you make? Do you also provide services?

I have a range of super easy to install wall decals. They are a pretty rad alternative to wall paper and paint and a great choice for the tenant because they're removable. I also hand make bespoke mobiles & accent pillows for babies & kids. Yes, I would say I provide services. I do take custom orders. 

 Where do you find inspiration for your creations?

For this range specifically, I drew from simple basic shapes. I am inspired by many things and everything - the people in my life, other creatives, nature, social media, trends and most importantly the of love making something beautiful with my own hands.

What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?

TIME MANAGEMENT! I have a very busy little one year old... It's very hard to know when to stop. I work mostly when she sleeps and that's at night which takes away from husband and wife time. I feel like I have one thousand different balls in the air at the same time. 

 photo bearbloom.jpg

How do you perceive the South African creatives/design landscape?

Innovative, handmade, environmentally conscious, self supportive with a focus on great quality no matter the medium. I love that the artisan is coming back in a big way. People taking such pride in their trade and putting out beautiful quality. It's the small local business owner who needs to be embraced. And I think South Africans as a whole are loving local.  

 What is your favorite colour/ material to work with, and why?

YOH! My favorite colour changes regularly. I am a huge fan of white but that's not technically a colour. I'm a bit nuts over pastels to be honest. I love amazing quality, natural fabrics like cotton, linen and leather. If you use great quality materials your products will be great quality and give good wear over time.

What would you do if you won the lotto?

First, I would whisk my family and friends on a divine holiday somewhere amazing like the Amalfi Coast. While away, I would commission the build of my dream home - an all white Victorian number with turrets and towers and round rooms, smack on the beach with a Scandinavian inspired interior utilizing lovely raw materials like wood, polished concrete & copper. I would invest in myself and give back by setting up a studio space, sharing my skills and knowledge with people who wanted to learn. I think knowledge and education in any form is more valuable than money, teach a man to fish and all...

I'm coming on that trip to Amalfi for sure! Where to from here?

I am starting to explore a kiddies linen line, exciting! I would adore to team up with other brands & creatives that I admire & believe in. Collaborating with other like minded creatives always results in something awesome!  

What has been your proudest moment since you started?

There's been a few:

> Being featured on Gareth Pon's blog for one. It's crazy when the people you look up to and admire turn around and admire you back... 
> Having one of our shots Exhibited by the Nandos SA Youth Day #16Pictures initiative.
> Gary will soon be an officially "published photographer", if you will. A picture he took is in the latest Edgars Magazine. Haha! Small time but we all start somewhere. It's a really great shot too. 
> Last week I had a great day, Angie from Lucky Pony, who I have a mad creative crush on, received her babies mobile and loved it. I battle so much with self doubt, it can be so suffocating sometimes. It's such a great feeling to know that something I made is genuinely loved by another person.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Instagram - @redrabbitears
Twitter - @redrabbitears

Instagram - @bearandbloom
Twitter - @bearandbloom

Instagram - @motif_sa
Twitter - @wallmotif

Win double tickets to the Coffee & Chocolate Expo

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The day journalists were introduced to coffee, the world changed. We basically look and sound like early man, muttering inaudible words, being the most obstinate creatures God has ever made. Until we have that first cup of java, until it starts surging through our veins, until we can open our eyes and smell that heavenly aroma, journalists are useless. I should know. I am one.

The other saving grace for many journalists, is having something sweet, like chocolate, in your drawer or bag, to give you that boost of energy needed to get through our busy busy days.

But, the wonders of these two astounding lifelines aren't just limited to the likes of journalists! Could you imagine a world without coffee or chocolate? Didn't think so! 

Luckily for us Joburgers, some really clever people named Shone Media had the noggins to combine coffees and chocolates and make an expo out of it, aptly named the Coffee and Chocolate expo!

"Welcome to the all new eccentric, decadent and exclusive Coffee & Chocolate Expo. For a raw and rich extravaganza of taste and experience of the highest class, join us on our journey while we tease and tantalise all your senses to bring to you a one of a kind Coffee & Chocolate Expo," it says on their website. 

Further, the expo hosts a few workshops, including a chooclate workshop by Wiz Bake and The Global  Chocolate Company as well as a wine workshop hosted by Ken Forrester Wines with top executive chefs, transforming dreaminess into reality to enhance your lifestyle, home and tantalise your coffee & chocolate addiction.

Also featuring at the event is sisters Leandri & Seline from Masterchef SA in a cook off extravaganza using only two Coffee & Chocolate. Experience new technologies in baking, moulding and cooking with chocolate and watch the sisters infuse coffee flavours into your favourite dishes.

The best is that you can also view and purchase the latest technology in coffee machines, accessories, crockery and products to make you and your family coffee & chocolatier experts!  Sit back, relax and enjoy a fun filled day of entertainment, tasting & an aromatic sensation that sends shivers down your spine.

Cannot wait to go!? Then you are in luck! The organisers have given The Sun House two tickets to give away for tomorrow night! 

All you have to do is tweet the following: "I want to win double tickets to @coffeechocexpo with @waitingformeg" - copy and paste is easiest ;)

Follow @coffeechocexpo on Twitter for an extra entry and comment below that you tweeted and followed, along with your favourite flavour coffee! Good luck!

The tickets are only valid for people who can be in Johannesburg tomorrow night. It is only valid for July 17. The doors open at 16:00 and closes at 19:30. 

The winner will be announced tomorrow at 12:00.

The event is taking place from July 17 to July 20 at Montecasino, Fourways.

Cucumbers - Nature's Miracle

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Besides having one of nature's most amazing smells - other than vanilla - cucumbers are probably the most underrated vegetable. It is honestly a little miracle plant, any beauty or fitness guru will vouch for that.

In fact, cucumbers are considered one of the healthiest foods on earth! Not only does it rid your body of cellulite {amazing!}, it also treats sunburn! Read lower down about more of this wonder veggies properties.

Did you know that cucumbers also act as a natural diuretic? So girls, if you are close to that time of the month, make sure to eat loads of cucumber and you will not be as bloated.  Read lower down about more of this wonder veggies properties. 

//Being a fan of smoothies is beneficial! It is quick, healthy and super tasty, especially if you make this delicious watermelon and cucumber smoothie! To die for!

//Planning a dinner and looking for a quick and easy appertiser? Then this stuffed cucumbers with feta cheese and procuitto is perfect for you.

//Listen, if there is one thing I love more than cucumbers it is a fancy open sandwhich and salmon. These two combined gives a modern twist on the English favourite. Find the recipe here.

//We all know that cucumbers are perfect for puffy eyes, but did you know that it also reduces the dark circles under your eyes because it is jam-packed with antioxidants and sillica? It also, believe it or not, has the power of reducing freckles and improves your complexion! {cucumber on eyes picture from here}

//Body scrubs are girls ways of saying 'with love from me to me' to their bodies. Treat yourself with this homemade DIY cucumber mint sugar scrub and get beautiful winter, or summer, skin in the process. 

//Lastly, by making your own cucumber and aloe mist, you will be doing yourself the biggest favour ever. It is described as such: The cucumber soothes and softens your skin, and also provides a cooling effect. The lemon acts as a natural exfoliator, leaving your skin smooth and soft. The aloe soothes your skin, promotes blood circulation, and improves your skin’s elasticity.

10 Things to do in Port Elizabeth {Adventures in Honeymooning}

Friday, July 11, 2014

I think I'm in love with the Eastern Cape. Its vast stretches of untouched beauty, the people, the cows walking on the beaches of the old Transkei, the vibe. It is the perfect province for a little honeymoon romance. When we went on our honeymoon last year, I wasn't told of our next destination, only learning about it as roadsigns revealed my brand-new husband's secrets.

The city was founded in 1820 to house British Settlers, it's history still evident in the many Victorian style houses scattered all over the city. This was also my second time in the 'windy city' or 'friendly city', whichever you prefer. The two days spent in this wondrous city had me longing for more. So, here is:

Visit Bird Island
Bird Island is one of four islands off the coast of Algoa Bay. It is home to the largest Cape Gannet colony, with about 160 000 pairs of gannets, Roseate terns & African penguins inhabiting the island. It forms part of the Addo Elephant Park. The islands are not usually open to visitors, but SAN Parks do occasionally organise visits.
Visit Stanley Street
The locals know the best hang out spots and Stanley Street is definitely it. It is in the middle of Richmond Hill - not that I would be able to find it without a gps - and for us Joburgers, it is similar to Parkhurst, or Greenside, but with a distinct Port Elizabethean look and feel - and also prices. We ate at the lovely Mediterranean Yiayia's - Greek for grandmother - and I ordered a delicious lamb chop and roast veg for R69, while Flip enjoyed a pizza for R40. Eat your heart our Joburg.

My favourite about Stanley Street, besides its immense vibe, the sidewalk cafe feel and music streaming everywhere, is that all the trees were covered in fairy lights, which made it awfully romantic.

 St George's Park
If you are a big cricket fan, like I am, then it is worth stopping over at this legendary field - the oldest one in South Africa. Have a picnic in the gardens, or play a round of garden bowls with the locals.

Cobblestone Bakery
Loved by locals and visitors alike, this cute old-fashioned bakery in Walmer will have you going back for more natural grained breads and pastries. 

The Boardwalk Hotel and Casino
Situated right on the world famous Hobie Beach, there is even a song about this beach, Sun International's Boardwalk Hotel and Casino is a must-see. Besides the fantastic views of the ocean, it offers a number of restaurants and a lake with a light-and-sound show. Water dancing to the sound of music? Always a goody in my book.

It also offers loads of entertainment - read lots of couple fun - including a game centre, putt putt (a favourite of Flip and I), bowling, carnival and go carts. Even better, the hotel is currently running a winter special! PE is nice and warm (warmer than up here in the north) with an average of 25 degrees!

Special Offer Details
Bookings can be made online using the promotional code [WINTERSPECIAL].
This offer is valid for from 1 May to 31 August 2014.

  • Accommodation for 2 nights, inclusive of breakfast.
  • R300 Dinner Voucher.
  • Complimentary bottle of wine.
  • Daily newspaper.
  • Complimentary airport transfers.
  • VAT at 14% (subject to change).
  • 1% Tourism Levy applicable on the accommodation portion of the rate.
To make a booking, contact the hotel, located on Beach Road, in Summerstrand, at 041 507 777 or email

Go Horse riding
I remember the first time I was in Port Elizabeth. I was about ten years old and obsessed with horses, like most young girls at that age. I wanted to ride horses like my life depended on it. Luckily, PE has a number of horse trails for the equestrian enthusiasts. Take a ride on a beach, trail rides and go for a picnic.

See the History
Follow the Donkin Heritage Trail, named after the man who found PE, Sir Rufane Donkin. It stops at about 47 sites, all showcasing the rich history of this old city. Make sure to see the beautiful colonial-style library, Market Square, the Opera House and many many more.

Sardinia Bay
On the doorstep of the Chelsea Downs Nature Reserve, Sardinia Bay promises beautiful beaches, loved by sandboarders and surfers. Make it extra special and romantic and watch the sun set with your lovey.

Humewood Beach and Hobie Beach
If you are looking for a swim or perhaps even a good surfing session, hit one of South Africa's most popular Blue Flag beaches.

Visit the Harbour (duh)
Besides a yearly major fishing competition, known as The Tuna Classic, the harbour also offers majestic scenes of ships so big you can hardly comprehend it. If you like smaller boats, the Algoa Bay Yacht Club has regular Wednesday evening Sundowner sailing open to members of the public.

Not in Port Elizabeth, but still close enough to visit:

Situated about 61 km from the city, is the delta of the Gamtoos river, where its mouth meets the ocean. Besides a few houses, there is nothing else, but nguni cows and the most beautiful lagoon and shrubs. It is worth the drive, just to see this. Along the way, you will drive down the Van Stadens Pass - breathtaking in its own right.

Addo Elephant Park
The world-famous park is about 76 km from Port Elizabeth. You can expect, besides 550 elephants, to see lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope

and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.

Even though it is one of the most unlikely places that any girl would think about for a honeymoon destination, I adored our staying in PE and my morning jogs in the wide open streets. It is definitely a place to put on your list.

*This post was sponsored by the Boardwalk Hotel
All pictures are my own except for the beaches, Boardwalk Hotel

Theme created by PIXELZINE