8 Father’s Day gift ideas

Father’s Day is just over 3 weeks away so I thought I’d give you some ideas for gifts – soap on a rope and socks are just not good enough!

1. Ocean Black & White cheeseboard R395.00 – Weylandts
2. Multitask desk lamp in black & copper R695.00 – Weylandts
3. Tee Off Drinking Bottle – R299.99 – Typo
4. Scottish Leader Original 750ml bottle with 2 tumblers – R140.00 available at TOPS at SPAR
5. Wooden Sign for your dad’s man cave – R129.99 – Typo
6. Nutribullet blender (I can’t live without mine!) – R1899.00 – Juniva *special discounted price
7. Curated gift box wrapped in style & delivered for free – from R349.00 – Yuppiechef
8. Biltong plate by Ceramic Factory – from R120 – available at Catalyst Gift Store in Umhlanga

Or for dads who are outdoor enthusiasts, why not get them tickets to the Durban International Boat & Lifestyle Show, which takes place on the weekend of Friday, 17th until Sunday, 19th July. It will showcase everything from one man dinghies & luxury catamarans, to hobiecat racing & the latest marine accessories, as well as rugged off-road vehicles, caravans, accessories & more.
Tickets are R50 for adults and R30 for kids over 12 & Senior Citizens. Kids under 12 get in for free when accompanied by an adult.

Happy shopping!

Win a R3000 voucher from Decorland

I got all of the blinds in my old flat from Decorland – I find it’s the easiest place to get them as they are inside Game stores and you can just pick them up off the shelf. For our new house though, I’ve got my eye on some wooden venetians, but they’ll need to be made to measure, as there’s a bay window which is an odd size. But I just saw on their website that they do custom-made blinds too, so that’s a winner!
I’ll definitely be popping into Decorland to pick these up:

You could win a R3000 shopping voucher just by signing up to receive the Decorland newsletter – click here to enter.

And check out their website for more info on all of their products.

Macaron or Macaroon? Take a Madame Macaron class and find out…

A few weeks ago I was invited to the media launch of the Madam Macaron classes at The Dirty Fork Studio in Durban North.
I am a huge fan of macarons and have been known to devour an entire box myself after carefully selecting an array at the market, to share with my family… er, my bad ;)
They have a bit of a reputation though – you’re either a devout lover of them who appreciates how much time and effort go into making them, or you’re that person who looks at them and says – “R10 for one biscuit?!”
They’re also highly confused with macaroons and this is the bane of a macaron baker’s life, as people are always telling them how much they love their macaroons…

So what is a macaroon!?
It’s a soft peaked cookie/biscuit made with desiccated coconut.
And a macaron?
Well the best description I’ve ever heard for one is: ‘A bite of happiness made with angel’s tears by unicorns’ ;)
Seriously though – a macaron is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with ground almond flour, which is sandwiched together with ganache or jam.

They are melt-in-the-mouth delicious and I was very excited to be getting some inside info on how to make them at the media launch.
Madam Macaron is the brainchild of Viveshni Joseph, a self-taught baker who runs her own business selling macarons, as well as cupcakes & cakes and has now launched classes to teach you how to bake and decorate your own. The classes are all run out of The Dirty Fork Studio, which is where the food magazine Ginja is also produced – one of the newest food publications to come out in SA recently.

Viveshni took us through the process of mixing up the macaron batter – I’m not going to give you the recipe or her insider tips, you can go to a class for that – and then instead of having to wait for them to bake, she had whipped up a few batches earlier and we were given a box of macaron shells which we got to decorate with a variety of delicious flavoured ganache fillings and toppings – I must admit I got quite involved with the edible glitter and heart confetti! It’s addictive to want to make them look pretty! It was such a fun, interactive class and there was much chatter, lots of wine and delicious snacks to eat all the way through – a really fun evening out and I imagine this would be a great way to start off a baby shower or kitchen tea, or just get a group of friends together and have a bake-off.

There are a variety of classes available – cook macarons from scratch yourself, do a demo and decorate class like we did, cake and cupcake baking classes as well as decorating classes:
* The Full Macaron Class – a hands-on macaron baking class, including accessories, snacks & drinks, packaging advice & giveaways.
Cost R580.
* The Macaron Demo Class  – an interactive demo, including accessories, 12 macarons to fill, decorate & take home, snacks & drinks & giveaways.
Cost R420.
* The Follow-Up Macaron Class – for those that have attended The Full Macaron & The Demo Classes & want to troubleshoot their macaron making using their own ingredients.
Cost R150.
* Bake Your Cake & Eat It – bake a cake from scratch and make a delicious buttercream to ice it with. Includes accessories, snacks & drinks & giveaways.
Cost R520.
* Decorate Your Cake & Eat It – take your own un-iced cake & learn different piping techniques to ice it. Includes accessories, snacks & drinks & giveaways.
Cost R350.
* Beginners Cupcake Class – bake 12 cupcakes from scratch & learn how to pipe on buttercream using different techniques & nozzles. Includes accessories, snacks & drinks & giveaways.
Cost R360.

Madam Macaron is offering all Ask Ashe blog readers a 10% discount when booking any of her classes – just quote #MMacaronClass when making a booking.

So go on – get your bake on and give Madame Macaron a call: 0829253952 or email info@madamemacaron.co.za
or visit the website.

Happy baking!

These were my class creations – loved that glitter!!!

Last chance to enter the Ask Ashe Blog 6th Birthday Giveaway worth over R5000!

A new week and your last chance to enter to stand a chance of winning the Ask Ashe Blog 6th Birthday giveaway, with prizes worth over R5000!
Have you entered yet?

If not, you can do so on this post – click here.

If you have, then you must be so excited to find out if you are the winner of these amazing prizes:

A bottle of Juliette Armand Caviar Fluid
A R500 voucher from Anna-Louise Sleepwear
A bottle of the newly relaunched Black Bottle Whisky
A Rose Gold Filigree Cuff & Kari Rose Gold Earrings from Catalisa Jewellery
A set of 6 Faceblocks from PrintWild
A gift hamper from BOS Ice Tea
A ‘Serious Deal Box of Love’ from Elephantshoe Stationery Studio
A pair of Demure sandals from Saint & Summer
A gift hamper from Cointreau
A R500 vida e caffe gift card

All going to ONE winner!!
Competition ends on 30th May, so don’t delay – go and enter here!

Juliette Armand Advanced Facial at Teremok Spa

I only recently found out about the Juliette Armand Professional Cosmetic Range – I had only heard about the Mama Mio and Mio brands which the same company own, so with brands of that calibre I was certainly not going to pass up the opportunity to trial the range!
Add to my excitement of having the treatment done at Teremok Spa – which I have always meant to visit, but just never got around to – and I was all set for an afternoon of extreme pampering.

Teremok Marine is a 5 star luxury boutique hotel on Marine Drive in Umhlanga and the Teremok Spa situated on its beautiful premises, caters to hotel and outside guests 7 days a week. Teremok means ‘little hideaway’ and it literally is tucked into a tranquil corner of the hotel, which on entering transports you into a little oasis full of beautiful decor & whimsical touches. There’s a private changeroom with lockers for you to store your belongings and change into a gown and slippers before your treatment and a cute little relaxation area to enjoy a quiet moment whilst waiting for your treatment – or browse along the shelves stocked with various collections for sale from clothing & accessories, to bags and jewellery from local designers.

Thabi soon escorted me into the treatment room for my pamper session and after a foot scrub, both feet were wrapped in warm booties and we got down to starting the anti-ageing treatment – yes, I am now in the anti-ageing category of clientele!

The Juliette Armand Elements Range that Thabi used on me included:
To cleanse and wash my face: The Hydra Cleansing Lotion, the Preparator Lotion and the Sensitive Cleansing Gel.
Some gorgeous smelling serums to really boost my skin: the DNA Repair and the Multi-B Vitamins.
A glorious antiage eye serum and a professional eye mask* were used to counteract the fine lines and dark circles under my eyes.
Two face masks: a Clarifying mask to draw out impurities and clean my skin and then something totally new for me – the professional Hydra C Latex Mask*, which goes on as a cream and then plasticises on your face and is peeled off afterwards.
But the whole point of the advanced therapy treatment is the peeling & AHA therapy – the Juliette Armand 6% AHA Fluid and the 20% AHA professional fruit gel* were applied, which produces quite a tingle on your face and neck, which prickles for a good 5 minutes, but your face is massaged at the the same time, so it’s not unbearable.

I have very sensitive skin, so the usual areas on my forehead and around my nose went quite red afterwards, but the results overall were fantastic – my skin felt smooth and super clean, my cheeks plumped up and I was seriously glowing!

We finished off with the Sun Film SPF 30 face gel to protect my face from the sun – even though I wasn’t going directly into it, getting in and out of your car can still burn sensitive skin and after a peel it’s imperative to stay protected.

This treatment does not make your skin actually flake and peel afterwards, I had comments on how amazing my skin looked and my face was glowing the whole following week. I also found that the dryness I usually have on my cheeks was much less noticeable than usual. So it’s the perfect ‘lunch time’ treatment and you won’t be bright red and ruddy afterwards and have to go straight home!

The best part about the treatment though, was that Thabi gave me a leg & foot massage while one of the masks was on and a neck, shoulder and scalp massage while the other mask was on – so by the time I left Teremok I was floating! It’s these extra treats that make going to a spa my favourite and I will definitely be back at Teremok soon for some pampering.

All of the Juliette Armand products used in my facial are available to purchase at Teremok Spa, except for the professional treatments*, which need to be customised for your skin by a professional therapist and are only used during treatments at the spa.

There’s a bottle of the Juliette Armand Caviar Fluid up for grabs in my birthday giveaway, worth R675, so if you haven’t entered yet, go do so in this post here!

For more details and updates on Juliette Armand Professional Cosmetics, visit their website or follow them on facebook.
You can contact Teremok Spa in Durban via their website or
email: wellness@teremok.co.za

A big thanks to the teams at Juliette Armand &Teremok Spa for the spoil!

Durban Markets for May/June 2015

Hanging for your market fix?
Here’s the low down on all the markets happening over the next few weeks in Durban.

Click on each for more details:
Friday 29th May:
Market at the Square Night Market – Granada Square, Umhlanga
The Litchi Orchard Night Market – Salt Rock
Morningside Night Market – Morningside Sports Club
Sunday 31st May:
Wonder Market – Chris Saunders Park, Umhlanga

Friday 5th June:

Roof Top Night Market – Musgrave Centre, Level 5
Bellevue Night Market – Bellevue Cafe, Hillcrest
Saturday 6th June:
I Heart Market – Moses Mabhida Stadium
Sunday 7th June:
Hillcrest Country Market – Hillcrest Primary School Hall

Sunday 14th June:

The Play Market – Giba Gorge

EVERY Sunday:

The Morning Trade – 15 Station Drive, just off Umgeni Road *NEW VENUE*
EVERY Saturday:
Shongweni Market – Shongweni

And remember – #supportlocal :)

The Twitter Blanket Drive 2015

TBD2015 LOGO 2015For the 6th year, the South African Twitter community will use the social media platform to collect blankets for those that need it most over winter in the Twitter Blanket Drive – #TBD2015. It’s the easiest way to use social media to do good and increase community awareness, with drives taking place this year in Jhb, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria..

The TBD started 6 years ago, when after contemplating the cold winter ahead, Melanie Minnaar tweeted the following thought: “what if each person on Twitter donated a blanket?”  Since then, the TBD movement has grown exponentially with over 4000 blankets collected at just 2 drop of points alone last year. Blankets were distributed amongst 4 charities – Seeds of Africa, Ark Animal Centre and Soul Food in Johannesburg and Operation Shoebox in Cape Town.

This year, there will also be an Instagram element – pictures can be posted on Instagram to create awareness of TBD using the hashtag #TBD2015.
Corporates are encouraged to help out with donations this year and the organisers are also looking for any companies, coffee shops and venues that can become drop off venues for blankets. The Durban drop off venue is: St Clements, 191 Musgrave Road, Durban.

For more information or to become involved in this year’s drive, please visit the official TBD Twitter page: @TBDAfrica.
For any Durban enquiries contact Fred Felton on: 076 977 5788 or email falconscove@gmail.com

4 load-shedding solutions for under R180

loadsheddingIt’s pretty much the bane of everyone’s daily life in SA at the moment – load-shedding.
But it doesn’t seem that it’s going to end anytime soon, so it’s time to start integrating some easy solutions that won’t break the bank into our lifestyles. I for one cannot afford to go solar right now, so we’ve bought a few LED lamps that charge during the day and kick in when the lights go out, but they don’t give off the best amount of light needed for homework or study time. The team at Sustainable.co.za shared this range of smaller, personal load-shedding solutions with me and I think they’re perfect for students or for around the home.

This lantern produces an impressive amount of light considering its size. It fits in the palm of your hand while compressed and functions as an LED torch, but when it pops up, it casts light at 360 degrees. The pop-up lantern features three different settings – light, dim & strobe – and boasts 20 000 hours of brilliant LED globe life. A magnetic feature helps store it easily, as it can be stuck to the fridge. Price R108.00.

This simplistic design is inspired by the Chochin Japanese lanterns traditionally lit at Japanese festivals. The Chochin Solar Light was created with the objective of providing a sense of warmth, light & peace and this light source provides users with solar powered warm white light featuring a handle which can be used for carrying or hanging. Price R140.00.

This little portable solar light certainly packs the power and can shine for up to 90 hours from just one single charge with a life span of up to 1500 charges.
The EverLight takes only 12 hours to charge fully when placed in direct sunlight and its water resistant body, S-hook and integrated handle make it a versatile & impressive addition to your home. Price R100.00.

I had the electricity go off right in the middle of using our oven 2 weeks ago and had no way to cook the rest of our meal. But if I had one of these – different story:

This is ideal if you’re caught in the middle of meal preparation, or even if you just want save on electricity. The Small HotBag Eco Cooker cooks food by means of trapped heat and after food has reached boiling point, via traditional cooking methods, you pop it into the HotBag and cooking is able to continue. It reduces stove time by up to two thirds, and the bag is also able to fold up, act as a cooler bag, keep plates warm or cook food while on-the-go. Price R179.00.

Sustainable.co.za is an online eco store – check them out for more great eco-friendly solutions for your home and office.
They also have a great little blog, full of green tips for your home or office – read it here.

The Gas Motorshow comes to KZN – win double tickets {closed}

flyer-frontemail Motorsports fans need not feel left out now that Top Gear is not coming to Durban, The Gas Motorshow is coming! Head to the Dezzi Raceway for this motor lifestyle festival, which promises something for everyone in the family on May 30th and 31st. 

Dezzi Raceway have teamed up with Gas Magazine to bring fans a thrilling weekend of entertainment from full circuit drifting and extreme bike stunts, to a pop-up cinema and the chance to get into the cockpit for a ride on a professional drift track. 

Expect to see:
– SA’s current SupaDrift championship point leader Jim McFarlane, along with a select guest list of Africa’s top drifters in a high-speed tandem drift show
– SA’s leading adrenaline motorsports company XS Promotions & their international stuntmen, showing off their own whiplash brand of spin stunting & motorised trike drifting, with Hooligan Drift Trikes in action from Joburg 

There’s action for motorcycle fans too: 
– SA’s own The Le Riche Brothers (currently ranked 2nd & 4th in the US), showing their extreme bike trial & stunt duo skills alongside XDL Stunts’ world-renowned bike performance display

Off the track catch:
– The Wicked Dips Show ‘n Shine & IASCA Dyno & Sound Off, presented by The Powerflow Exhaust Zone, where fans can get up close to 100s of the most beautiful cars from around the province 
– Supercar club IBV with 20 of KZN’s best supercars on display

And they haven’t forgotten the kids & moms:
– Epic Go Karting’s full outdoor karting track alongside mini radio controlled drift cars by RC Drifting & racing simulators by TGN Simulators to get a feel of what it’s to slide and drive
– A climbing wall, gyro, rodeo bull & loads of inflatables, as well as the Gas Motorshow Pop-up Cinema &
– for moms – the unisex spa with foot massages, pedicures and kids face painting & glitter tattoos

Finally, SA’s strongest men will race against the clock to pull 5 tonnes of cold steel in the Strongman contest.

Venue: Dezzi Raceway, Marburg, Port Shepstone 
Dates & Times:  Sat 30th May and Sunday 31st May, from 9am – 7pm daily
Tickets:  R60, adults; R30 pensioners. R200 for VIP tickets, limited to 500 per day FREE for under 12’s
For more information visit: http://gasmagazine.co.za/ or follow on Twitter: @gas_magazine or Facebook: GasMagazine

I’ve got 2 double sets of tickets up for grabs for either of the days. All you have to do, is enter via one (or all) of these ways below:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me who you’ll be taking with to The Gas Motorshow
2. Tweet: ‘I want to win double tickets to The Gas Motorshow with @AskAshe
3. Share this post on facebook (make sure your share is public) and tag Ask Ashe Blog That’s it!
Please Note: You can enter as many times you like and winners will be chosen via random draw. There are TWO double sets of tickets to be won. Competition ends on Friday 22nd May at 5pm and winners will be contacted via the channel they entered on. Names & contact details of the winners will be forwarded to the organisers for ticket prizes to be arranged.

Cape Town: The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa: Day 2

Last week I shared our stay at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Cape Town, including our dinner at the Azure Restaurant in this post.
Today I’m going to share our experience at their spa – and what an experience it was!

We woke up refreshed after an awesome night in our suite on the comfiest bed ever. Because the sun rises on the other side of the mountain behind you, we had left our shutters open, so the first glimpse of the day was of the Atlantic Ocean – truly breathtaking. We had spa treatments booked for 10am, so headed to breakfast first, back in the Azure Restaurant {There is another restaurant inside the hotel – the Cafe Grill, which is an al fresco styled restaurant located on the mountain side, near the rock pools and it offers a 24 hour casual dining experience}

I had planned on having a small breakfast before heading to the spa. Well that’s what I planned…
Pretty much anything you could ever want was available for breakfast – delicious fresh fruits, yogurts and cereals, baked croissants & biscuits, smoked salmon, hot breakfast cooked to order, eggs any way you can imagine AND oysters and sparkling wine! I tried to contain my excitement – oysters are my favourite – but failed miserably and had 6 for breakfast, with tabasco and lemon – insanely delicious and fresh. I passed on the sparkling wine – that was one step too far at 9am :)

We were checking out that day and with spa treatments smack bang in the middle of check-out time, were worried about not having a room to change in afterwards. This wasn’t even a blip on the radar for hotel management, even though our suite was booked out for that night. They magically packed our stuff up while we went off to the spa and relocated all of our belongings into another room close to the spa, so we could change afterwards – awesome service!

We were booked in for the B|Purified Treatment which is a 2 hour signature treatment which starts with a session in the the Rasul Chamber and ends with a full body massage. To say I was excited is an understatement – massage and pampering is my favourite! The Rasul Chamber treatment is recommended for enjoyment with a partner, as you’ll need to cover each other in the mud masks which are provided for your body, hair and face. Make sure you have a bikini!
Once you are covered, you lie down and dry heat is emitted inside the chamber, which dries the mud and allows the skin to draw out impurities from the body. It gets very steamy inside there, just like a sauna and the mud starts to soften, which allows the beneficial ingredients and natural minerals to be absorbed by the body. A gentle rain shower then starts to fall from the ceiling and the mud starts to wash off, but you’ll need to hose each other down too using the hand showers as that mud is everywhere!

Then we were back into our gowns and off to the dual treatment room for our full body massages. There are 7 dual and single treatment rooms at the spa, as well as 2 outdoor gazebos with views of the 12 Apostles and the Atlantic – this is definitely next on my list of must-try’s! How amazing would that be!?

After a foot cleansing ceremony where we chose a stone to symbolise how we would want to feel after our treatment, it was onto the beds for a heavenly full body massage. It was an hour of sheer bliss which included a scalp massage and I definitely nodded off once or twice!
I always wish I could just fall asleep and be left on the massage bed for a few hours afterwards, but alas it was back to the real world. We did head to the  lounge though and had a small snack from the spa health bar buffet, but we didn’t get to try out the hydrotherapy and flotation pools – you need to be freshly showered for that and there was no ways I was getting rid of all the amazing essential oils I had just had rejuvenate me just then!

I had chosen the ‘gratitude’ stone at the beginning of our massage and that is exactly how I felt afterwards – grateful for such an amazing experience, in a beautiful part of our country, at a truly world class boutique hotel and so grateful that I got to share it with someone special.
Thank you so much to The Twelve Apostles team for the hospitality – we had an amazing time and we’ll definitely be back!

If you would like to experience The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa yourself, why not take advantage of the winter offers currently running –
all the details are in my previous post – click here

There’s the Detox & Delight, the Spa Winter Glow, the Dinner and a Movie, the Overnight Dinner & a Movie, the Hibernate to Rejuvenate, or the Celebration Package, as well as the Stay 4 Nights and only pay for 3 package.

Tel: +27 (0)21 437 9000 or Email: reservations1@12apostles.co.za

You can read more of my Cape Town trip posts here:
The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa: Day 1
Taste of Cape Town
The Hop On – Hop Off City Sightseeing Cape Town Tours & Beau Constantia

If Cape Town is just too far for you, The Oyster Box Hotel is part of the same boutique hotel group and is right on our doorstep in Durban!
Visit their website here and why not indulge a little and take advantage of the offers they are also running – the Indulge-on-your-doorstep package sounds just up my alley!