Inspirational Peeps|Lifestyle

Javett Music Award competition at the University of Pretoria rewards talented students

I recently attended the first Annual Javett Music Awards at the University of Pretoria’s Musaion Theatre. After welcome drinks and canapes, we made our way to the theatre where we took our seats. As I sat front and centre, I felt my heart rate increase as I watched the incredibly talented performances of students, Sandisile and Olu.  Their performances were powerful and rendered an unbelievable amount of emotion.  I didn’t expect to be drawn into their performances the way I was, but I was left inspired and wanting for more.

They were later joined on the stage by Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, Professor Lenora Helm Hammonds.  Professor Helm Hammonds arrived in South Africa earlier in September from North Carolina Central University to take up her residency as the Javett Jazz Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pretoria‘s Department of Music.

Professor Lenora Helm Hammonds

At the end of the evening, Sandisile Gqweta and Olu Yakhe were announced as the winners of the 2018 Javett Music Awards at the University of Pretoria. Sandisile, a BMus (Performing Arts) final year jazz student at the University of Pretoria, won in the Jazz vocal category and Olu, who hails from Mdantsane, in the Eastern Cape, won in the classical singing category. They each won a cash prize of R25 000.

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Sandisile Gqweta and Olu Yakhe

The annual awards will alternate between composition and performing arts in any musical genre (classical, jazz or electro-acoustic). The awards acknowledge excellence, and celebrate outstanding, innovation and musical creativity, targeting the best young talent in the country.  The evening’s performances made it evident that South Africa is a country blessed with extremely talented individuals just waiting to be found and harnessed.  

Found and harnessed by the partnership between the Javett Foundation and the University of Pretoria.  The Javett Foundation is a South African trust, established to support philanthropic activities in line with the Javett family’s long-standing passion for and commitment to, the arts, education and culture. This fantastic partnership will be consolidated and strengthened in 2019, with the launch of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP). 

Food|Healthy eating|Lifestyle

Sharpening My Cooking Skills at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio

Lucky, is a girl who wins not one …. but two cooking experiences at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio in Sandton.  As a fit foodie, the opportunity to sharpen my cooking skills is the experience that dreams are made off.  Exaggerate much, I here you are ask but we will come back to this shortly.

The first time I won was during the #RuleYourHealth campaign collaboration between ever so gorgeous Babalwa Mabona and Discovery Health.  I won an experience for two to attend the “All About Chicken” cooking class.

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Date Night

The second time, I won a cooking experience for 3 friends and I with Whirlpool during their Heritage Day campaign.  When asked what my fav heritage dish was, I responded with a “Bunny Chow”.  Yip, it’s my absolute fav and let me just add that I do make a mean bunny chow.

Back to my Discovery experiences.  On both occasions at the Healthy Food Studio, we arrived at the extraordinary Discovery Health building and made our way up.  A warm welcome and then we got to watch the sunset while people sipped on wine and I had a cuppa java.  There were some delicious snacks to munch on while we mingled.

 

 

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Girls Night out with Whirlpool

 

After a quick introductory, we were dressed in chef hats and aprons.  We moved to the exquisitely designed and equipped kitchen that it fitted with appliances from Kitchenaid, Smeg and Whirlpool.  All the food is supplied by Woolworths.  Let’s just say that the experience at the Discovery Healthy Food Studio is an all-encompassing one.

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I’m a huge Whirlpool fan and love the opportunity to cook with their state of the art appliances.  I’m still waiting for the opportunity to use the Whirlpool JetChef which I have heard such amazing things about.

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Whirlpool JetChef

We took our places at our cooking stations and the qualified chefs then commenced with the themed classes.  The classes at skills based and you will definitely leave having learnt new skills.  The more experienced cooks in the room will hone their already impressive cooking skills.  It’s a team effort from all in attendance and a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.  The recipes utilised on the night are also emailed to you at a later stage so that you can put your new-found skills to the test when you cook your favourite dishes from the night.

Once all is said and done, everyone (except the chefs and staff) make their way to the dining room to eat dinner together.  Sampling the dishes cooked on the night, is a fantastic way to end the experience, which also helps everyone determine their favourite dishes of the night.  The cooking class is a wonderful experience irrespective of whether it is Date Night, Girls Night Out or Flying Solo kinda opportunity.  It’s the opportunity to learn new skills, improve existing skills while socialising and meeting new people.

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Fit Like Mummy – The Self-proclaimed Queen of Meal

Im a home cook who cooks 3 meals a day despite being a working mom by day and blogger by night.  Food is my passion and cooking for others is my way of expressing my love.  The kitchen is indeed my happy place and if I can spend my days teaching people how to meal prep and cook healthy but delicious food, then I will be living my best life to the fullest extent. I’ve changed my life and improved my health by making small but sustainable changes and so can you.  Until my dream (which I mentioned in my opening statements) becomes a reality, cooking classes like these and my live Sunday meal preps on Instagram will have to do.  So, meet me on the gram every Sunday afternoon when I meal prep like a boss.

 

 

 

 

Entertainment|Event|Lifestyle|Women

Women’s Lifestyle Expo High Tea set to attract who’s who of South African business women

Enjoying afternoon tea while perched on a gilded hotel armchair is a fine British tradition, which has thankfully found its way into today’s societal way of life.

The Women’s Lifestyle Expo presents you with the opportunity to sit down to an intimate High Tea with some of South Africa’s most dynamic, impressive and influential women at this year’s Expo (#WLE2018). Guests will be treated to a sumptuous tea while hearing how these phenomenal women managed to achieve their success; balancing demanding careers and motherhood and still managing to embrace their femininity. This sumptuous networking opportunity will be taking place on Saturday, 29 September from 2pm to 4pm at Joburg’s Montecasino Piazza Ballroom.

“The Women’s Lifestyle Expo High Tea will give you an opportunity to feed your inner goddess in a space that is energising and empowering and where women from all walks of life will get to interact, engage with and learn from some truly inspiring women.” – said Helen Johns, co-founder of Women’s Lifestyle Expo.

What to expect

Expect to sip on champagne and gin cocktails while enjoying delicious gourmet food. You will be able to enjoy one-on-one interactions and engage in relaxed discussions with the speakers and each guest will leave with a complimentary goodie bag so that they can continue their pampering experience at home.

The #WLE2018 High Tea is however no ordinary high tea.  The high tea features a panel of multi-talented, dynamic women who will share their thoughts and experiences on their road to ‘Redefining Success’.  Your panel comprises of:-

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The Deets for the High Tea

Tickets to the High Tea are R650 per person – which includes access to the entire Women’s Lifestyle Expo – and can be bought from www.itickets.co.za. With limited space available, you’re urged to book now to avoid disappointment.

#WLE2018 Deets

When: Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September
Times: Saturday, 29 September 9.30am to 8pm
Sunday, 30 September 9.30am to 6pm
Venue: Montecasino Piazza
Tickets: R180 per person per day for a general entry ticket. (more…)

Entertainment|Lifestyle

The Secret is Out – SecretEats is back

A recently bumped into Darren Meltz and when he mentioned that SecretEats is back, I honestly couldn’t contain my excitement.  SecretEATS is every foodies little piece of heaven.

SecretEats! Simply put is an exclusive underground dining experience.  The concept brings together top chefs and young, rising stars with outgoing, adventurous food and wine lovers in unique, unexpected and absolutely breathtaking spaces.  Pretty much ever foodies happy place.

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This invitation only experience sees guests being treated to an exclusive, intimate dinner party featuring course after course of gourmet food, and premium wine pairings from some of the country’s top wine farms.

Do any of the names ring a bell … Brad Ball, Bertus Basson, James Diack, Vicky Crease, Michelle Theron, Kobus van der Merwe, Vanessa Marx ?  SecretEATS has has the pleasure of working with some of these top local and international chefs.

The intrigue and mystery of SecreatEATS lies in the unique and wonderful concept.  The Secret chef and menu are only unveiled upon confirmation of your password at the secret location on the day of the event.  From wineland homes to stunning art galleries, private gardens, ancient milkwood forests and anywhere in between, our evenings are always hosted somewhere guests can’t simply go and make a booking.

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Giving Back

As always, every dinner hosted helps raise funds for a local charity in need, an important aspect of the SecretEATS brand. This has allowed us to support and give back to the local community where we – and our guests – live, work and play.

Chat time with Darren Meltz

What does it mean to you to be the Regional Events Director?

I could not be more excited to embark on this new journey with SecretEATS. Being Events Director gives me the freedom to come up with the dinner events not only of my dreams but those of our guests. I am able to make the concepts I’ve had in mind for so long come alive in the most beautiful way.

Why should South African foodies be requesting an invite to a fabulous SecretEATS dinner?

SecretEATS dinners are one of a kind and no two dinners are the same. We bring together the best chefs in the most unique locations. If you miss a SecretEATS you truly will miss out.

Have you attended any of the previous SecretEATS dinners and if so, name your greatest highlight?

My time with SecretEATS started right at the beginning. I was the photographer for the very first Joburg dinners so I’ve been lucky enough to be part of quite a few dinners. My favourites were definitely the red and white rooftop picnic and our collaboration with the Bombay Sapphire Imagination room.

Moments are shared and friendships are made. I am beyond excited to bring the enchantment of SecretEATS to our guests.” – Darren Meltz, Events Director JHB/PTA

For now, simply Request your Private Invitation to join SecretEATS and then sit back, relax and await the deliciousness.

 

 

Entertainment|Lifestyle

Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs Opening Night – Jozi

The multi-award winning international dance phenomenon, Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS has recently wowed the crowds in the Mother City. Last night, it was opening night for the City of Gold.

TAP DOGS features high-energy dance, theatrical performances and live music performed by a cast of six dancers and two musicians who will bring the steel works to life in a fast paced, unstoppable spectacular.

#TapDogsSA2018 is a 75-minute non-stop show that brought the heat and exceeded my every expectation. This jaw dropping show will have you sitting at the edge of your seat in absolute bewilderment. TAP DOGS electrifying performance is a combination of sheer strength and power of workmen who dance to the rhythm of their own heartbeat. The refreshing personalities and infectious humor will draw you in and keeping you wanting for more.

If there is only one show you watch in 2018, then Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS is certainly the one. It’s the perfect performance for the entire family. I highly recommend that you #GetYourTapOn and make sure you don’t miss this phenomenal, high voltage performance that has been described as “Part theatre, part dance, part rock concert and part construction site!”.

Tickets available from www.bigconcerts.co.za & Computicket.  Unfortunately no children under  3 years of age allowed.

 

 

Entertainment|Event|Fitness event|Lifestyle

James Ali Bashir, the Man Behind the Legendary US Boxing Trainer

James Ali Bashir, legendary US boxing trainer, spans a 48 (soon to be 49) year career training boxers around the world. Rather humbling to sit down and chat about all things boxing. We also go to chat about life.

Raised by an extremely independent and strong mother, its no surprise that James Ali Bashir’s inspiring story highlights many successes. A specific event had Bashir questioning his choices and especially his career path. After much thought he made the decision to follow his heart and his passion and became an assistant trainer under Emanuel Steward for 17 years out of the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan. Bashir served as assistant trainer to many fighters. After Steward’s passing in 2012, James Ali Bashir began working as a head coach. He emphasized that nothing came easy and his choice to pursue a career as a boxing trainer meant sacrificing absolutely “everything“. A tough choice, but one he doesn’t regret. Bashir reiterated that nothing great ever comes easy.

Words from a Wise Man

While Bashir had his lunch we casually chatted about life, it’s circumstances and how random events out of our control impact our lives. Bashir is a man who has experienced life in its entirety and as a result takes nothing for granted. His words were deep and really hit home. Our conversation was raw and real … and gave me lots to think about and in some strange way, our meeting has served a purpose greater than I could possibly imagine. James Ali Bashir was the voice of reason I so desperately need and I’m eternally grateful. At one point in our conversation, Bashir handed me his phone and asked me to watch the video below. Take a look and tell me that doesn’t put things into perspective.

Fighters Trained

It was incredible to chat to the man behind the success of world heavyweight champions like Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis, Welterweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, Monte Barrett, Maurice Harris and Eddie Chambers,

Battle of the Warriors

James Ali Bashir is currently training several of the boxers participating in the Battle of the Warriors taking place on 26 August 2018 at the Sun Arena in Pretoria. One of the boxers he is training is Ukranian born Heavyweight Vladyslav Sirenko. Vlad joined us during the interview and it was fantastic to watch the relation between boxer and trainer. Which very much resembled a relationship to that of a father and son, with carefree banter, jokes and an honest affection for each other.

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Lunch time😊 #Ukraine #kiev #lunch

A post shared by Vlad Sirenko (@vladsirenko) on

Bashir was also training IBO World Middlewight Champion, Ivana Habazin who due to injury returned to Crotia to deal with her recovery at home.

James Ali Bashir is indeed a force to be reckoned with and you can see him in person, pushing his guys to the max at the Battle of the Warriors.

Fitness|Lifestyle|Weight loss

5 Steps to Kick-start Your Transformation (and keep it going)

I’m often asked about my commitment, dedication and perseverance with regard to my transformation. What people really want to know is how to start and how to keep the momentum going. Sounds easier said than done, or is it a simple approach to a radical lifestyle change that is required?

So, when I was asked to write for the Entertainer Hub about this very topic, I jumped at the opportunity.

The hardest part of any fitness journey is knowing where to start.

Hit the link to find out what are my 5 steps to kick-start a transformation and how to keep it going

Please head back after reading the article and let me know in the comments, where you are in your journey to a fitter and healthier you.

Entertainment|Event|Lifestyle|Review

Rock and Roll Circus Show Rocks the Barnyard Theatre Gold Reef City

Big Top Rock is the biggest, most entertaining and daring show ever produced by The Barnyard Theatres. It’s not the usual song and dance that us regular Barnyard goers have become accustomed to.

Big Top Rock, just like the previous installment and predecessor Rock Circus, features live music, aerial acts and funky dance routines with an electric atmosphere that will rock you like never before. The thrilling show will draw you in as the performers bring the heat for the duration of the show. The rock hits from six decades of music, bold acrobatics and impressive choreography will have you on the edge of your seat.

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The Big Top Ringmaster will take you on a musical journey with music from Def Leppard, ACDC, Kings of Leon, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elvis Presley, Pink, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Pitbull and many more.

Prepare to be thoroughly entertained by a variety of acts that will have you jumping out of your seats and partying up a storm, just like I did.  I enjoyed the show tremendously and found myself moving to the beat.  It was an extremely fun and entertaining evening.

Dare to Dress

In keeping with the theme, theatre-goers are encouraged to dress the part. With a choice between Rock Glam or Carnival Chic. The question is, “What dress code would your sense of adventure drive you towards?”

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I opted for Carnival Chic

Show Times & Ticket Prices

The show runs until 13 October 2018 at The Barnyard Theatre Gold Reef City. Bookings can be made via The Barnyard Theatre

19 Jul – 25 Aug:

  • Tue (20:00) – R165pp Buy 1 Ticket Get 1 Free
  • Thur (20:00) – R165pp
  • Sat (14:30) – R130pp + Kids U/12 free (2 kids per paying – full price – adult) & Pensioners
  • 50% OFF (telephonic bookings only)
  • Sat (20:00) – 165pp

29 Aug – 13 Oct:

  • Wed (20:00) – R165pp
  • Fri (20:00) – R165pp
  • Sat (13:00) – R130pp + Kids U/12 free (2 kids per paying – full price – adult) & Pensioners
  • 50% OFF (telephonic bookings only)
Lifestyle

Jackson's Real Food Market

As I embarked on a lifestyle change in 2017, one of my many challenges was sourcing nutrient dense food. That was until I discovered Jackson’s. Having been presented with the opportunity to chat to Gary, I have to admit that it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down as I so desperately wanted to know more about the brains behind one of my fav hangouts. Prior to this meeting we had a brief encounter where Gary mentioned his weight loss story and his lifestyle change. Gary’s passion for #JustRealFood is undoubtably contagious and a conversation with him is both effortless and informative. Probably why we chatted for almost 2 hours without even realising the time had passed.

During our chat he light-heartedly referred to Jackson’s as a groceraunt. The concept of blending a restaurant experience with a grocery experience. Jackson’s Real Food Eatery is however a lot more than just that. It is a one stop shop to a healthier you and is most probably the reason I am a regular customer at Jackson’s. I am able to do my shopping there and Saturday mornings see me take some me-time as I work on my mental strength with some rooftop yoga. In addition to this, we dine rather regularly at the restaurant, believe it or not even my kids love eating at Jacksons. Healthy food that tastes uber delish.
As Gary shared his journey with me, I was transported back to the first 5 years of his life where he grew up in Tokyo due to his dad taking a job there. The lifestyle in Tokyo ensured that he was a super healthy baby. In the early 1970’s Gary’s family relocated to Cape Town. The South African way of life, which was vastly different to the lifestyle he had become accustomed to in Asia, saw him develop several health conditions from eczema to hay-fever which earned him the nickname “wet hanky”. Doctors claimed that these health issues were allergy related and he was treated accordingly.
After completing high school Gary went on to varsity where he studied Industrial Psychology and Business. He later joined the army where he earned the title of lieutenant. Military discipline and training in addition to having grown up with a mom who was into yoga and a dad who owned his own health studios’, meant a healthy lifestyle wasn’t something new to Gary.
Gary repeatedly applied to an International Fast Food company, and after numerous letters of rejection they finally contacted him to say that they were interested in coming to South Africa. He was presented with the opportunity to run a store abroad to prove himself, so off he went to London where he learnt the ins-and-outs of the Fast Food industry. They were so impressed with him that before he knew it Gary was running 4 branches at a time back in South Africa. He spent the majority of his time ensuring that the fast food outlets were a success, but this inadvertently meant that he lived off fast food and as his weight climbed, his health plummeted. He had to deal with high cholesterol, brain fog, depression and even kidney stones. Gary remembers witnessing his clients succumb to similar health issues.
At this time Gary started dating a gorgeous Greek girl, who wasn’t happy about his health issues. She asked him for just 3 months … 3 months to try her approach to diet and lifestyle. Obviously besotted by the gorgeous girl, Gary agreed and started eating a Mediterranean diet. His existing health issues started to vanish one by one, making him realise the importance of eating a healthy nutrient rich diet. He then eased into an exercise routine and without even realising it, a lifestyle change had begun. Towards the end of our chat, I asked Gary what had happened to the Greek girl. He lit up like a Christmas tree as he said “I married her, how could I not? She was just amazing.” So it was a win win situation as Gary got his health back on track and he got the girl.
After his lifestyle shift, Gary left the fast food behind and took up employment with an upmarket food chain where he learnt everything there was to learn about the organic industry. After 6 successful years of employment with this mega chain, Gary’s awareness and self-discovery edged him to bite the bullet and he opened Jackson’s Real Food Market in Bryanston. The once humble 4 table groceraunt has since grown from strength to strength, resulting in Gary opening a second branch at Kyalami corner, 5 months ago.
Having earned a Degree in Hamburgerology, Gary prides himself on ensuring that Jackson’s dish up the yummiest hamburgers along with many other amazingly delicious and oh so healthy meals. His vision for the brand is to make healthy food accessible to everyone so that people can be healed and so that they can achieve vitality and wellness in their lives.
DISCLAIMER : This is not a sponsored post, merely me sharing my opinion on my favourite hang outs.

Lifestyle

The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef

As an absolute foodie, one of my favourite pastimes is cooking up a storm in the kitchen and if you follow me on social media, you would know that if I could spend every minute of my day cooking, then I would.

So when I attended a Women’s Health Magazine event at The Cookery, I knew that I would find my happy place. I get to cook while sipping on bubbly and I get to socialise. All I can really say is this place was made for me.

When I met Paul Maciel for the very first time, I was completely starstruck. During the course of the evening we got to chatting and he told me his story and all he ended up doing was igniting my passion for cooking. Paul started out as the owner of a well known Jozi restaurant Pronto in 2004. Twelve years later he sold Pronto and launched his blog The Secret Jozi Chef as well as his cooking school, The Cookery. I chatted to Paul about my weightloss journey and I clearly remember him saying, “Eat whatever you want, as long as you make it yourself”. I never thought about food that way, but it made absolute sense. The Secret Jozi Chef strongly believes that the real chefs in the world are home cooks.

The Cookery is a venue where foodies converge to cook, learn and socialise. Irrespective of whether you can cook or not, you are guaranteed to have an uber fun experience. I always meet the most amazing and interesting people at The Cookery which makes for a fabulous time.

The kitchen is equipped with state of the art appliances and equipment that will make any cooks’ heart sing. Can you say Kitchenaid and Whirlpool?!?! Events are theme based and advanced bookings are essential. The Cookery can cater for up to 20 people per lesson. Lessons are super relaxed, entertaining and just pure magic. Paul is supported by his fabulous team who are beyond friendly and helpful. Paul, Emilio, Sicelo and Carlos operate with such ease and precision that they make the entire experience one that will keep bringing you back time and time again. Trust me on this, I speak from experience as I aim to visit The Cookery at least once a month. So, if you haven’t experienced The Cookery by The Secret Jozi Chef I highly recommend you put it at the the top of your list of things to experience in Jozi.

The month of May sees The Cookery celebrate 2 years of all-round amazingness. To Paul and his fabulous team, I sincerely wish you the very best and I look forward to making many, many more amazing memories with you. Thank you for giving of yourselves so generously and for just being truly wonderful people. Your love for food and people is contagious and I’m left in awe after each and every visit.