Coffee and Chocolate expo

Friday, July 25, 2014

Imagine finding yourself in Willy Wonka's factory, but instead of all kinds of sweets, you find chocolate. Any and every kind you can think of - small slabs, big slabs; artisinal chocolate; chocolate with no milk and no sugar; chocolate with coffee , chocolate with chilli, chocolate with salt; berries in chocolate; fudge! 

Now imagine that waterfall and stream at the Wonka factory, but instead of being a river of chocolate, it is made out of the best and most delectable coffees on earth. And every time you scoop from the river, you get a different flavoured coffee! 

Lastly, imagine trees growing next to this coffee stream, with leaves, bark and fruit made of cookies! The perfect accessory to the perfect cup of coffee. Oh, delicious!

This past weekend's Coffee and Choc expo, held at Montecasino, was but a glimpse of what it must be like to get lost in the wondrous Willy Wonka world I just described. 

 {pic by Giro Coffees}

I took two of my girl friends to explore and what we found was truly Wonka'esque. Every stall had little tasters of what it had on offer and we engorged ourselves on every single tidbit.

Among the hundreds of stalls, we stopped at Mi Casa, Aroma, Bean There and Roast Republic - the freetrade brainchild of Leandri from Masterchef. 

{Pic Roast Republic}

Leandri and her sister, Seline, gave a workshop on making gourmet food with only coffee and chocolate, but bad timing on our part had us missing every single workshop, so we just chatted with the ladies afterwards. I asked Leandri if she's Afrikaans and everyone started laughing loudly. She's clearly not, haha. 

I had only one cup of coffee at the expo, which unfortunately had an incredibly strong salty aftertaste and put me off having more coffee entirely; I gave it to my friend Eleanor to finish. She was sniffing out all the freetrade stalls, but wanted to try all the special coffees too. Poor woman must have been buzzing until Tuesday!


There was chocolate and temptation everywhere! We tried every single morsel we could try and got stuck at a stall that mixes olives with chocolates - sounds weird, but believe me it was amazing! I forget its name now and I didn't take a business card either. Also among the chocolate stalls was festival favourite Nova. I love their packaging and their different flavours, seriously amazing!


I really adored the La Coco C stall. The company sells chocolate, cookies, brownies, mixtures and wedding favours! From American choc chip, cranberry and white choc chip to a red velvet cookie mix {we bought one and it was amazing!} and all sorts of brownie mixes, including a chilli brownie mix, to honey, this stall had it all. The lovely decor caught my eye first and I just loved the visual appeal. Find them on:

And I finally got to taste ice cream from Paul Ballen and meet the guy himself. I really mean it when I say that you HAVE NOT lived until you have tried these icy cold tub sized heavens! I had a vanilla and salted caramel ice cream, which Paul admitted was not his favourite, but it was certainly mine, albeit I have only ever had one flavour. Pretty nifty is that the ice cream has a date stamp on it, so you know that it is oh-so-fresh! Find him on

There is definitely a limit to the amount of coffee and chocolate you can consume in one day, and we most certainly passed that limit within the first half hour, but as they say: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!" 

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.  

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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.

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