Category Archives: Shopping

Belgian Chocolate and Curios at Chocolat etc. in Swellendam (2021-01-12) Photo Gallery | Shopping 15 JAN 2021

Our early January school holidays escape to Swellendam was lazing along quite nicely. Comfortably tucked in at the Aan de Heuvel self-catering cottage where the girls were pretty much living in our private splash pool, we didn’t need to mosey out much other than when needing to restock braai supplies or maybe pick up a treat or two while driving (aka sightseeing) around this quaint, historic, and lush green town at the foot of the Langeberg mountains.

One such treat snuffling saw us set foot in Chocolate etc., a small Belgian chocolatier/curios/gift shop that has definitely moved since we last visited Swellendam, but which is still very helpfully right by the Drostdy Museum Complex. Housed in a vintage style building squashed in between two estate agents, Chocolate etc. is primarily a place to grab a quick cup of coffee while perusing a relatively wide selection of fashionable clothing articles, gifts, curios, and of course a selection of nicely made artisan chocolates.

Of course I don’t think that Chantelle or the girls even looked at anything other than the chocolate display, as they eagerly had the lady on duty work her way through describing each and every one as the girls all made their difficult choices as to which flavours to grab. (Well not that difficult because of course all three strolled away with a nicely bulging packets at the end of our visit.)

Spinning Cotton into Clothes with the Barrydale Hand Weavers (2019-07-02) Photo Gallery | Shopping 07 APR 2020

There aren’t that many commercial hand weaving ventures left in South Africa, but if you ever find yourself in the delightful little town of Barrydale on the border of the Overberg and Klein Karoo regions (and which is known for mixing farmers and artisans), you’ll stumble across one such venture that is very much thriving – and has a pretty feel good story to boot!

The brainchild of Carol Morris and German-trained weaver Tivane Mavuma (who come from running running a knitwear operation in Swaziland), Barrydale Hand Weavers was established to create quality hand-loomed products while also serving as a way to uplift the local community through upskill and opportunity.

Spun by members of the community itself, the finest high-grade cotton is then transformed by a group of trained local weavers into all manner of homeware products including bathmats, cushion covers, rugs, table runners, and their famous flat-weave towels – all on rickety age old wooden hand looms.

In addition to their local storefront in Barrydale itself, Barrydale Hand Weavers already supply boutiques and shops across South Africa, while also having found moderate success in exporting their woven products to countries such as Canada, the United States, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.

Once you are done perusing their wares, browsing the art, and maybe sipping a warm coffee in the unique brick courtyard of their main shop, you also have the option of taking a drive down the road to the actual factory itself – a nondescript building tucked away in Barrydale’s small industrial area that houses all of Barrydale Hand Weaver’s prized looms and weaving staff.

It is super interesting to watch how this centuries old craft works and how incredibly beautiful pieces of patterned cloth are able to emerge through such not quite as simple as what they first seem looms. (And yes, as you can see from the picture above, if you’re cute or ask nicely enough, they might even given you the chance to have a spin on the loom!)

Well worth a stop and look see then.

Building a House in the Lego Shop in Canal Walk Cape Town (2020-02-15) Photo Gallery | Shopping 03 APR 2020

Having enjoyed a great morning out at Cape Town’s historic Castle of Good Hope, followed by a stroll along Sea Point’s sunny promenade, the next stop for Jessica, Emily and I was a stop at the sprawling Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Century City, Cape Town – primarily so that I could keep my end of the bargain by buying Lindt chocolates for everyone!

These days of course, for me a visit to Canal Walk wouldn’t be complete without popping my head into the wonderfully yellow and over the top official LEGO store that the Great Yellow Brick Company opened in the mall a handful of months ago.

As with any good LEGO selling shop, the breadth of amazing LEGO sets on offer is enthralling enough, but for me it is all the little extras that really make it the best LEGO shop experience, things like the Pick-a-brick wall, the minifigure building station, the play with bricks area, the interactive LEGO displays and of course the beautifully done, custom built Bo-Kaap MOC standing proudly on display in the front window.

And of course, because I never do anything in a hurry or on a schedule, the girls and I enjoyed a right royal time browsing all the LEGO themes and then hunkering down to build a pyramid roof, glass wall house. As always, I’m not sure who enjoyed it more – the girls or me!

Man, having access to stores like this when I was a kid sure would have been heaven! :)

Honey and Buzzing at Bee Things in Swellendam (2019-09-27) Photo Gallery | Shopping 30 JAN 2020

If you are rather fond of honey and happen to ‘bee’ in Swellendam, then it might just be worth your while to buzz across the main street to the brightly hued, honeybee-themed, hard to miss Bee Things shop.

As it stands, Bee Things is part of the Ubusi Beekeeping company which rose out of founder Jaco Wolfaardt’s beekeeping hobby that first morphed into JW’s Beekeeping Honey & Equipment, before finally emerging as this full scale commercial beekeeping operation that provides beekeeping, mentorship, supplies, and most important to me and you as a consumer, honey direct to the public.

Currently there are four Bee Things shops in operation, in Swellendam, George, Mosselbay and Barrydale, and these stores provide both an awareness and retail avenue for Ubusi’s honey and wax as well as for an assortment of bee-related products from 3rd party producers.

The end result? An amazing little shop experience that is crammed with the most exotic collection of honey (with some of it even on tap!), honey products, and locally manufactured hand crafted items, as well as a plethora of information about the beekeeping industry and practices, and of course bees themselves.

There is also a hive with honey bees on show (great for the kids), and this particular store in Swellendam (the home base so to speak) also features an amazing wall of Jaco’s private collection of honey that he has collected from literally all over the world!

Mad as a Hatter at Inspired in Heidelberg (2019-09-30) Photo Gallery | Shopping 29 OCT 2019

Travelling down the N2, it is impossible not to smile when passing the colourful Inspired in Heidelberg, an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter themed home decor shop that just screams “stop and see what we stock”!

So I finally did. The people at Inspired Creations specialize in manufacturing beautiful solid wood furniture and handmade decor items that are not “on the high street”. The brightly hued shop (which is housed in an old refurbished milk shed dating back to 1873) is packed with the most inventive and wonderful pieces of home decor, eager to turn a house into a home.

There is a lot of whimsy, artistry and craftmanship on display, and if you can’t quite make you mind up all at once, then you are welcome to have a cup of coffee, a delicious milkshake, or a yummy panini on their stoep.

Oh, and they have a selfie wall.

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Vintage Home Decor at Wunderkammer in Philadelphia (2019-05-12) Photo Gallery | Shopping 26 OCT 2019

Chantelle and I decided to drive home via Philadelphia following our mini birthday getaway to Darling. It is the first time that I visited this tiny hamlet of only a handful of homes and businesses, and one of the more interesting finds was the delightfully eclectic Wunderkammer antique and vintage store.

Created by Katja Emanuel, Wunderkammer actually makes a lot of sense in Philadelphia – after all, it is already a bit of a creative hub, with quite a few artists and creatives calling this little town home. The large house/warehouse that is the shop is brimming with all manner of collectibles, furniture and art, some of it vintage, some of it antique, but pretty much all of it interesting.

It actually was great fun to stroll through the (slightly) organized chaos, because a lot of the items for sale come from the period around our youth, and so a fair number of elements are things that we can identify and reminisce about. There is a truckload of pieces to work through and one could certainly find more than just a few things to help turn your house into a home.

But perhaps this is best explained by some visual aids:

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Shopping at the Lindt Chocolate Studio in Cape Town (2019-01-09) Photo Gallery | Shopping 12 FEB 2019

Did you know that the Lindt chocolate classes hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg were a first for Lindt worldwide? It is something that Chantelle has always been keen to do at some point in time, and now that we’ve actually stumbled upon the Lindt Chocolate Studio in the reinvigorated Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, I reckon that the ‘maybe’ has now moved much more firmly into the realm of ‘definitely’.

We were in fact wandering about that area thanks to our first ever visit to the gorgeous Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) gallery, and of course once we spied the gleaming gold logo of Lindt, Chantelle was reeled in and immediately bought a handful of exotic flavours for us to try and compare.

Secretly, this made me super happy.

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Mixing Spices at Brenda’s Deli at the Spice Route in Paarl (2018-05-11) Photo Gallery | Shopping 18 MAY 2018

Located on what was previously known as the Seidelberg wine estate, the Spice Route is a fantastic tourist destination out here in Paarl, speaking loudly to those who truly enjoy their artisan food experiences.

However, with all the action happening around the grounds of the main manor house, it is quite easy to visit Spice Route and come away having completely missed an utter gem that is tucked away in its own little lavender-fronted dwelling at the foot of the estate – Brenda’s deli.

Started by well-travelled Brenda de Jager around 2007, Brenda’s specializes in spices and preserves, with the business going to great lengths to celebrate and respect their ingredients by avoiding artificial preservatives and additives, championing flavour, and producing fresh, natural products using local sources.

As a foodie, Chantelle was instantly mesmerized by the interesting array of spices (of which there are plenty!) and food products on display, while even I walked away impressed with the very clever, very satisfying, simple but elegant shop layout.

The smells, the colours, the textures, the selection – in other words, an absolute treat for anyone who enjoys cooking their own exotic dishes, and a shop that will definitely encourage you to part with at least some money on the day! ;)

(For reference, Brenda’s products are also available at selected stockists nationwide, as well as online via their e-store).

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It’s rather a pity then that I almost immediately managed to ruin the granadilla and lemon curd that Chantelle picked up by unwittingly allowing it to curdle. At least her spices are a bit tougher and should be safe from my ham-fisted ways…

Related Link: Brenda’s Deli | Spice Route | Paarl