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Smoked Flavours

Have you ever been to a local burger restaurant that has the most delicious smoked mayonnaise? Or have you tried to make smoked food and realised that it is actually a lot of effort? I never thought that I would be able to make delicious smoked food, and it has nearly always been my choice of flavours when we are able to eat out.

And then, I discovered Smoked Flavours. Made from 100% wood chips, Smoked Flavours is an easy healthier way to get a traditional smoky flavour into any meal. It is ideal for meat, marinades, sauces, basting, cheeses, dips. Their products instantly adds smoke flavour to almost any food that would benefit from real smoke flavour and aroma. Dash or brush on any meat, poultry, or vegetable – since it is very concentrated, use sparingly as a few drops will be sufficient. These are made from smoldering damp wood chips to generate as much smoke as possible. This smoke is then funnelled into a condenser where it is cooled and so results in the formation of condensation. This condensation is collected, filtered and purified. The end product is highly concentrated liquid smoke which has the same flavour of the wood type used, you are then able to achieve the same taste that would be generated by traditional smoking processes. Hickory & Mixed Hardwood are vegan & vegetarian friendly.


Your name: Theunis Kruger

Business name: Smoked Flavours Pty Ltd

Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website

How did this business start: My interest in liquid smoke started in late 2012 when I found a recipe online for Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) where one of the key ingredients was liquid smoke. I searched high and low for it in South Africa but came up empty handed, this was when I searched for international manufacturers. Once I finally received my first bottle and was able to complete the Chicken Makhani I was hooked.

Soon I was trying it on steaks, beef burgers, chicken breasts and even pasta sauces. Liquid smoke’s versatility got me thinking and I realised that there was a gap in the market, this is when I started researching it in earnest.

It contains no PAHs (potentially carcinogenic components) and adds no calories or fat. It works wonders in curries, vegetarian dishes, sauces, cheese, dips, and marinades or even directly on meat or fish – giving indoor cooking the flavour of outdoor cooking. Plus it’s kosher and halaal. Some flavours are also suitable for vegans.

The manufacture of liquid smoke is quite complex and goes through a few stages before it becomes the great tasting product we know. It is 100% natural wood flavour and there are no artificial flavours.

Damp wood chips from your selected wood type are heated to smouldering point in a large retort, this generates more smoke than actually setting the wood alight. This smoke is funnelled into a compression chamber where this rapidly cools the smoke, causing condensation. This condensation is filtered purified and aged for anything from a few months to a year.

We have different variants; Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Mixed Hardwood and European Beech. Hickory is the most popular wood used for smoking and so is the one most people are familiar with. It works well with meat and sauces/marinades for pork, chicken & beef. Mixed hardwood is a combination of hickory and oak, both are hard woods so this works on the same items as the Hickory. Finally the European Beech is a softer wood and so is therefore a good all-round smoke that can be used on meat, sauces, marinades as well as seafood, fish and cheeses & dips.

The possibilities of what can be achieved with liquid smoke are endless, if you have an imagination you will be able to create some spectacular meals.
The European Beech in particular enables you to get a smoky flavour into things that you would never associate being enhanced by the flavour of smoke. Last year a catering customer of ours made a Smoked Cardamom Ice-cream! There is also a rage in the US where liquid smoke is being used in cocktails.

Which is your personal favourite product: Extremely difficult to say; I use every product myself! The smoked salt and olive oil we use on a daily basis as it provides a more complex flavour and different notes to any dish. Cherry is a favourite on nachos, Hickory and Mixed Hardwood on meats, Beech on everything and I like using the Apple to give a more pronounced smoky note to gammon, especially when prepared in the oven or a pressure cooker. Pulled pork is transformed with Beech added to it!

What have been your most popular products: Hickory and Mixed Hardwood are certainly the better sellers as most people are familiar with Hickory smoked meat products. European Beech is the most versatile of the flavours, which makes it very popular for retail and commercial applications, especially for burger sauces and vegan protein options.

Tell me a bit more about these product flavours: Liquid smoke in not readily available in South Africa and smoked food is becoming increasingly popular. Liquid smoke enables you easily add a smoky flavour to any meal by adding it during the cooking process or even to prepared meals.
It is made from real wood chips and contains no artificial flavourings or colourants. The same taste you get from a traditional smoker, is the same taste you get from our liquid smoke.
 Hickory – most familiar smoke flavour, used on bacon, ribs & chicken breasts. Best results when used with “heavier” meats like beef & pork. Ideal for marinade, basting, potjie, soup or pasta sauce.
 Mesquite – Best results when used with “heavier” meats like beef & game. Ideal for marinade, basting or potjie
 Hickory & Oak – Common woods used for smoking, good with red meat, pork & game. To be used in marinade, basting sauce, pasta sauce or biltong recipe.
 Beech – Very versatile and mild liquid smoke and so the liquid smoke works well when used to flavour fish, mayo, dips, butter or cream cheeses with no bitter aftertaste. Made with hardwood chips.
 Applewood – Probably the most used fruit smoke wood, the flavour is milder and sweeter than Hickory. Ideal for poultry, beef, pork (especially ham), game birds, lamb and some seafood. A mild with a subtle sweet, fruity flavour.
 Cherrywood – Slightly sweet fruity smoke that’s great with just about everything. It is a very dark liquid smoke so will impart a deep, golden-brown finish to the meal. A sweet mild, fruity flavour.

Where can people purchase these from: We have a list of distributors (expanding all the time) across South Africa, with further expansion planned for Namibia and Botswana. We have our products available through our online shop as well; we ship to your door for a nominal fee. www.smokedflavours.co.za/shop or www.smokedflavours.co.za/stockists

Do you have any recommended recipes to try these out: My personal favourite and biggest crowd pleaser is Beech smoked mayo; it makes any dip come alive and burgers are no longer made in our house without it!! You can download our free recipes here.

What are the different products you have available:
• Liquid Smoke: Apple, Beech, Cherry, Hickory, Hickory & Oak, Mesquite – 125ml
• Smoked Salt: Hickory smoked salt – 100ml & 325ml
• Smoked Olive Oil: Smoked olive oil & Chilli smoked olive oil
• Liquid Smoke: Bulk packaging for commercial applications.

What makes your products so unique: It is immensely versatile and can be used for anything from curries, marinades, sauces, ice-cream, cocktails, chillies, olives, cheeses, meats, tofu… You see what I mean?!

Who do you think would enjoy these: Anyone with a love for food and an adventurous taste palate, as well as vegetarians and vegans. Our products are sourced from reputable production facilities in the US and Europe with Kosher and Halaal certification from the manufacturers. We are in the process of obtaining local Halaal certification from SANHA as well.

Quote you live by: Cooking is an act of love.


We are going to be launching a competition this week, so make sure you keep an eye out on our social media! No house should be without these products, and I can definitely recommend the Smoked Olive Oil and Smoked Salt for everyone – we can’t imagine making meals without them now and have definitely experimented in every possible way with seeing just how far we can push our tastebuds and what does really work for us. So far we have loved it all.

Thank you Theunis for this great product. I can’t wait to see more recipes and experiments with everything available, and to see these more readily available in restaurants and friends’ kitchens.


Msulwa Life

When I first discovered Msulwa Life, it was through their reusable cotton rounds. I had begun to truly be aware of the waste I was producing during my skincare, and was desperate to find an alternative. I didn’t want to use the regular cotton wool or cotton rounds for cleansing and toning my face, and immediately placed an order for their collection of reusable cotton rounds – and have honestly never looked back. And then I began following them, and was amazed by all that they had on offer – from skincare, to soaps, to scrubbies, and so much more. I reached out to Megan and asked if I could do a feature on her, as I really feel we should all be more aware of not only our waste, but also using products that are kind to our environment and our skin.

Reusable Facial Rounds

Your name: Megan Miller

Business name: Msulwa Life

Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website

Tell me a bit more about your business: Msulwa Life is a South African online store that creates and sells unique eco-friendly and natural products. Msulwa is an isiZulu word that means Pure, Innocent and Clean in English. We loved these meanings as it perfectly represents our brand’s vision, together with being South African. The Pure reflects that our products are free from harmful chemicals, the Innocent reflects that we don’t use animal products and are cruelty free and the Clean reflects that our products are eco-friendly, protecting the environment in as many ways as possible.

What are 3 fun facts about you:
1) I never follow a recipe – I prefer experimenting in the kitchen!
2) I like to ride motorbikes and do adventurous activities
3) I’m always thinking of new and creative projects

What made you decide to start this business: The concept and dream of Msulwa Life has been on my mind for a few years. I qualified as a Biokineticist in 2014 and then headed over to the UK and Europe where I worked abroad for 5 years as a Carer and then as a 2nd Stewardess/ Personal Trainer on a Superyacht. This is where I was exposed to a large amount of unnecessary waste and at the same time saw new ways of being more of a conscious and environmentally aware person. Over the years working abroad, my appreciation and love for South Africa was cemented and I came to realise Africa is my remarkable home and where I decided to return! I came back in February 2020, where I began Msulwa Life, running this eco store online which launched in March 2020.09.

What makes your products so unique: Msulwa Life’s products are unique because they all strive to achieve all 3 of the Pure, Innocent and Clean aspects that represent our brand and Msulwa meaning. We believe that these are the 3 vital components that we all should strive to align in our lives in order to achieve an optimal human lifestyle that is in harmony with the earth.
We therefore create and source products that are Vegan, Plastic Free, Natural, Chemical Free, Organic, Zero Waste, Cruelty free and Sustainable.

What is your personal favourite product: The Natural Body Moisturizer with Geranium & Lavender together with the Natural Facial Moisturiser with Sea Buckthorn are my Favourite! They really are refreshing, nutritious and are amazing on the skin.

What have been your most popular items: The most popular product is the Reusable Facial Rounds – I have been really impressed by how many people have switched from disposable cotton rounds and are so much more eco-conscious! The rounds have often been chosen with the Konjac Sponges, Bamboo Toothbrushes, Tooth Treatment Paste, Organic Dental Floss and Msulwa Soaps!

Why do you wish people would make use of more eco-friendly items: I had learnt great appreciation for Health and the Environment after a lot of research of how important our food and product choices are to our bodies and the Earth. I discovered that a Plant Based diet has been seen to be the healthiest diet for humans. This also exposed me to the devastating impact of the animal agricultural industry on our food quality, the shocking animal brutality and that this industry is the biggest contributor to global warming and environmental destruction – it was a huge realisation on how unaware we all are of this industry. I wanted to create more environmental awareness to South Africans and provide products that easily help people transition into a more sustainable lifestyle. The earth is at a critical stage of its survival, and if everyone started to be active and take individual responsibility, we can make drastic improvements to the earth’s and our health!

How can people purchase from you:
• Visiting our online store is the easiest way to browse through our whole Msulwa Life’s product range.
• Enjoy reading the product descriptions and learning about how each product will benefit you and your eco-friendly lifestyle.
• Add your chosen items to your cart and then choose from many secure online payments options including EFT, credit/debit card, Payfast and Zapper.
• Once you have made your order, we will instantly receive it and then begin putting it all together for you.
• When your parcel is ready, you will be notified with your Courier’s tracking number via email. Easily follow your parcels journey all the way to your door which will take 2-4 days.
• We securely courier all over South Africa!

Quote you live by:

“When your passion and purpose are greater than your fears and excuses, you will find a way.”

Anonymous

Enjoying what you do and having a desire for what you want to achieve, is really the foundation for success. I haven’t yet got close to my environmental and business goals, but I feel I am on the right track!
I knew that I would only reach my full potential and be the most effective in the world when I pursue my passions and utilise my skills in directions that I was truly interested in, and this is Msulwa Life.

Anything else you want to add: I qualified as a Biokineticist in 2014 and then headed over to the UK and Europe where I worked abroad for 5 years as a Carer and then as a 2nd Stewardess/ Personal Trainer on a Superyacht. This is where I was exposed to a large amount of unnecessary waste and at the same time saw new ways of being more of a conscious and an environmentally aware person.


I can’t wait to purchase more items from this stunning range, and also to know that I am doing all I can to live a better life, and protect our beautiful world.

Which of these are on your wishlist? I would definitely recommend the reusable cotton rounds for each and every person.

Thank you Megan for your time, your passion, but most of all for wanting to make a real difference and spread kindness everywhere. You are one in a million.


Kryolan Fourways Mall

When I studied beauty at The Academy of Beauty Therapy, I also completed my international certification in makeup. I absolutely love spending time experimenting with new makeup looks, and getting to play with beautiful makeup! We were taught using Kryolan, and I immediately fell in love. I couldn’t believe the coverage that their foundation gave; how their colours were bold and vibrant; and most of all the highest quality of each and every product.

I was so excited when I saw that they opened a store in Fourways Mall, and I was their very first customer through their doors. I won a makeover with them, and was so impressed with the service I received as well as the passion of each of the staff members. I was reminded again just why I adore these products, and pop through to their store at every chance I get.

We have some exciting ideas in the pipeline, but I don’t want to give too much away just yet… For now, you can enjoy learning more about them, and make sure you give them a visit next time you are in the area.


Your name: Judi Rosenstrauch (Marketing Manager) and MC van der Merwe (Owner).

Business name: Kryolan Fourways Mall

Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website.

Tell me a bit more about Kryolan: At Kryolan, we make make-up. But not like anybody else.
Because unlike everybody else, we actually make our make-up. As one of the first cosmetics brands in the world, we use our own formulas and recipes to manufacture our own products. We think of them. We create them. Formulate them and love them into existence. We’ve been doing this over 70 years. And we’re still doing it today.
There is only one real professional make-up maker. There is only one Kryolan.

You can also see the whole Kryolan story on the website – it is actually quite interesting if you have some time…

Why did you choose to open a store in Fourways Mall: We have been working and selling Kryolan products for more than a decade and developed an absolute trust in the brand and its products. We decided to go all in and took over Kryolan City in Maponya mall. After that the rest was history and we knew we had to bring the brand, that we loved so much, to Fourways. And are we glad we did! We have met so many awesome people along the way and some very loyal customers.

What makes Kryolan such an amazing brand: There truly is no brand like Kryolan! It is one of the very few professional make-up brands that is able to live up to the expectation. Our brand is so diverse and truly caters for every skin tone, complexion, make-up look or whatever your need, we will have it. We have over 7 different foundation ranges that comes in every shape and colour to suit your exact need with cover that you could only dream about. To top it off, all our products from eye shadow to lip stain and foundation is animal cruelty free. We even have a BLUE MASTER vegan brush set!

What services do you offer at Kryolan: We offer everything from make-up consultations to make-up for events and personal make-up lessons. Whether it is your wedding day or you are just a guest at a wedding or perhaps you have a photoshoot with the family, we can help you look amazing! You can pop in at any time for a free foundation matching with no obligation to buy and we will help you find a product that is ideal for your skin tone and complexion.

Is Kroylan for everyone, or only professionals: Kryolan is for EVERYONE! Whether you are a make-up artist, working lady or simply a mommy who likes to look good and feel amazing you can absolutely come to us. Many moons ago it used to only be available to professional make-up artists, but now we are a professional make-up brand available to everyone without exception.

What are some of your favourite products: It will definitely depend on what the occasion… As a foundation, I personally adore the VITACOLOR range as it is ideal for my drier complexion and it has amazing coverage. I always go with the LIP STAIN as it is extremely long lasting and doesn’t dry your lips like some stains can sometimes do. Even if you have to wear a mask, your lip color won’t go any ware! Another amazing product that I can’t get enough of is the SHIMMERING EVENT FOUNDATION that works wonders when you want to add a bronzing effect to your look for those rosy cheeks. But I should probably stop now, because I’ve mentioned 3 products already and the list just goes on and on…

Shepherd with DUAL FINISH Ideal for contouring and highlights as well as to increase the opacity of other foundations.
Adeline Chabane with EYE SHADOW VARIETY 18 COLORS ‘V1’ pallet is a soft pressed powder for dry application.
Phumi Nompumelelo Twala with LIP STAIN ‘Ambient’. This product is a matt, color-intense, long-lasting and smudge-proof lip fluid that you will absolutely adore!
Monica with Shimmering Event Foundation is a very light and gentle fluid foundation for appealing light effects and bronzing.

If people want to know more about your products, where can they visit: First prize will obviously be to visit the shop! We are at shop F60 in Fourways Mall in the upper mall opposite Mr. Price Home. You can also phone the store at 011 516 0631 or send an email to info@kryolanfourwaysmall.co.za. Be sure to follow us on social media too.
Also remember that you can find any product online even if you just want to double check on our prices, it’s all there.

What extra discounts do you offer for professional makeup artists: If you are a professional make-up artist you can apply online for your make-up pro card that entitles you to a 20% discount on all products.

If you had to recommend just 3 products for people to start off with, what would they be: Definitely a foundation with a setting powder as this keeps your foundation on for the whole day! Then I would recommend an eyeshadow pallet (either a 3 or 5 color pallet depending on your need) that you can use for eyeshadow, blusher and contouring if you are in to that…

Are your products cruelty-free: All our products are animal cruelty free! We love animal and our moto is, animals don’t wear make-up, humans do, so why test on animals!

Is there anything that you want people to know about Kryolan: Yes, we have an extremely wide range of products and we would love to have the opportunity to show them to you, so please visit our store! If you know nothing about make-up, let us know and we can schedule a personal make-up lesson for you and show you exactly how to do your own make-up.

Where exactly is your store located: We are at shop F60 in Fourways Mall in the upper mall opposite Mr. Price Home. If you struggle to find us either give us a call or ask the mall security for directions.

Quote you live by: Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things – Disney’s UP

Anything else you want to add: At Kryolan we believe in people first, business later! We will never sell you a product simply to push sales, we will always look at your individual needs and then make recommendations for your specific needs.


I cannot tell you how much I love this product, and especially this branch. It is my happy place, and I recently spent some time with these wonderful people learning about their different products and feeling like a kid in a candy store. I discovered their holographic pigments, and would recommend these to everyone, along with their foundation and setting powder for sure. Their range of eyeshadows is like none I have ever seen before, and you can create your own palette with your favourite colours.

Thank you so much to Judi for your time and love, and to all the great staff at Kryolan Fourways Mall. I can’t wait to see you again, to continue to stock my makeup collection, and to just learn from each of you.


Better Box

Candice is a friend of mine that I met through Rare Diseases South Africa. She is such a brave woman, and is someone who is always looking for ways to make others happy. She reached out to me before lockdown about her idea for “Better Box”, and asked if she could include some of our Rare Bears in it. We discussed what she was planning to do, and I knew that this was really something special! Each box is put together with so much love and thought, and she is spreading kindness with every one sent out. Keep reading to learn more about this project, and see just how special it really is.


Your name: Candice Schutte

Business name: Better Box

Social media handles: Website, Instagram and Facebook

Some fun facts about you: I am a fun loving mom of 2 with a passion for anything creative and quirky. I have always been community driven working with Girl Guides Association SA, headed up CI for workplaces and was Miss Cansa 2000. I fundamentally believe in the value Kindness is Contagious and this is the mark I want to leave on the universe.

Tell me a little more about this business: Better Box was dreamt up in my hospital bed. Many times I lay in hospital having a real pity party for myself – the pinnacle being my 30th Birthday! I knew that people cared and were concerned for me but when you are chronically ill people assume that after a while you just ‘got this’. Actually though you don’t, because every time you end up back in hospital its a knock to your emotional and physical state. I just want Better Box to be the little glimmer of hope for people when they are at their low, this can be in any way , shape or form. Its a little Box of Happiness to let someone know that someone cares.

What inspired you to start it: I inspired myself to start. I am currently on medical disability due to my Rare Diseases and can no longer work in a traditional workplace. Most of the work for Better Box is co ordinated by me but my family are hugely involved due to my health. I lost my dad to Marfan’s Syndrome when I was 14 and my mom to Leukemia a few years back. While my mom went through chemo I stopped working to care for her and was at the hospital every day taking food and clothes to the others in the ward with her. I 100% know that is where my passion for this really started, I just had no idea the way my life and health would take me to Better Box.

Who are some of the brands that have come on board: The suppliers for Better Box have been carefully selected as I wanted to empower small businesses run by mommies, Rare Diseases patients as well as give back to a community in some way. I would not have Better box without the Rare Bear Project and they are an integral part of my boxes. Other brands include KwirkNation, Creative Junction, Mammamade, Knits and Knots, Wylie B Vinyl crafts, Gift Boss, Oh Soap Crazy, and Hope Soaps.

How can people order one: Please go to www.betterbox.co.za to order online and email hello@betterbox.co.za for any kind of customisation.

Why do you think this is such a great idea: So much love and care goes into preparing each box, the goodies inside are practical, fun and quirky. I dare you not to Smile!

Who do you think would enjoy one: Everyone loves to feel good and spoilt!

How did you decide on each item in the box: Our Signature Box the ‘Go Box’, is designed to include everything you would need for an emergency hospital stay – believe me I have forgotten more than one of these items even when I have prepared!

Whats in the box?
Everything you would need for a hospital visit !

  • Custom made drip friendly Better Box sleep shirt
  • Warm comfy socks
  • Bamboozles toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mini soaps and sponge
  • Earphones to tune out and chill
  • A little something to snack on
  • Colouring in to keep the mind busy and relaxed

Other boxes: Snack Box, Bump Box for new mommies, Brave Box for little ones, Be happy Box, FU Cancer Box, Donate a Box and the Box Fund
We are also running a Pay it Forward campaign:
We challenge you to buy a box for someone you know or we donate to ,and nominate a friend to do the same, every 10th box will be up for grabs for the people that purchased to gift or keep for themselves! Pay it forward, kindness is contagious!!
Lets get a Better Box chain going!
Show off your nominations and acts of kindness and don’t forget to tag us! #payitforward #kindness #cancer

What has it been like living with a rare disease: The last 12 years have been exhausting and painful. I have had countless surgeries, 36 kidney stones, gone blind in my left eye and now chronic fatigue, pain and hands that do not co operate. I am however grateful that I finally have a diagnosis as well as the ability to speak up for those with rare Disease!

Quote you live by: It costs nothing to be kind.


I absolutely adore everything that Candice and Better Box stand for, and have loved seeing her dream come alive. She has even sent a box to a friend of mine who is currently battling cancer, and it made my friend feel so special as well as reminding her just how much she means to so many of us.

If you would like to get involved in this, or perhaps even purchase one for a friend, please reach out to Candice via social media or email. Speaking from experience, I can vouch for just how much it means to receive a gift while in hospital or feeling rotten – because no matter how “normal” it is to be admitted, it honestly never gets easier.


JT Lawrence

During our infertility journey, a book was recommended to me time and time again.  It was a book recommended by other women that had also struggled to fall pregnant, those that had undergone IVF, those that had experienced unexpected loss, and those that truly understood the emotional toll that infertility takes on not only your body, but also your mind.  This book is called “The Underachieving Ovary”, and honestly I feel it is a book that everyone should read.  I cried, laughed, got excited, and had my heart shattered – all in one book.  And once I had finished it I did some more research into the author, JT Lawrence, and was amazed to discover that she is South African.

I have always been a bookworm and love nothing better than curling up in a spot of sunshine to devour my latest book.  My husband often returns home over a weekend to find me cuddled up under a blanket with a cup of tea in one hand, and my book in another.  And JT Lawrence has been one of my favourite authors ever since that first book of hers that I read.  I couldn’t believe it when she responded to my email requesting a short interview for my blog, and feel so honoured that one of my role models took the time to answer my questions and come on board.  So without further ado, here is the amazing JT Lawrence!


Your name:  Janita Lawrence – known as JT Lawrence to readers

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Social media handles:  Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, BookBub, Website and Email.

What are some fun facts about you:

  1. I’m currently obsessed with growing food in my victory garden
  2. I’m addicted to walking and podcasts
  3. I went to boarding school
  4. I used to be an art director in advertising
  5. I wear a wolf hat in winter
  6. I bake bread and make kombucha
  7. I grew up with Roald Dahl bedtime stories (thanks, Mom!)
  8. I wear black almost all the time
  9. I love Agnes Obel’s music
  10. I’m fascinated by psychedelic medicine
  11. I read gardening books to unwind
  12. I used to draw and paint
  13. I’m currently volunteering for the Covid-19 vaccine trial
  14. I was on a billboard once
  15. My 8-year-old son says I’m the “strangest mom he’s ever met”
  16. I’ve been skydiving (and scuba diving with ragged tooth sharks)
  17. In January I met a cow on a mountain and I haven’t been able to eat beef since. Lasagne used to be my favourite dish. Now we eat a lot of lentils.

Tell me a little more about you:  I’m a mom to 3 free-range children, 2 cats and a kitten, a hamster, and a dozen happy chickens. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to imagine a life so full of chaos and magic.

In our house we believe that love is love, black lives matter, feminism is about equality, trans women are women, science is king, kindness comes first, and it’s great to grow your own food.

How did you get into writing:  I’ve always written–and always been delighted by peoples’ reactions–apart from a family friend who used to recite a poem I wrote when I was 8 every single time we saw him. 30+ years later, my whole family still know the rhyme.

Twinkle twinkle little dragon

How I wonder about your wagon

Going sixty miles per hour

Eating people sweet and sour.

What genre are your books:  I hop between genres. I’ve written psychological suspense, thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction: memoir. At the moment I’m focusing on urban fantasy due to the success of BLOOD MAGIC.

Which book holds the most meaning for you:  This is like asking which child is my favourite, the answer to which is usually the one who is not currently crying.

Who do you think these books would appeal to:  Anyone who enjoys escapist page-turners and staying up all night reading “just one more chapter”.

Where can people purchase your books from:  Amazon is the best place, but I do sell signed paperbacks to local readers.

What do you wish more people knew about you:  I hate phone calls.

The first book of yours I ever read was “The Underachieving Ovary” & it helped me through my infertility journey – what inspired you to write this:  My underachieving ovary! I hoped that getting the story out there would be healing for me and helpful to others. Infertility is a lonely place to be.

Why are you proudly South African:  At the moment, my favourite thing about SA is the long growing season and the blue sky.

Quote you live by:  “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Einstein

Anything else you want to add:  If any of your readers would like to try out my work, they can grab this bundle of stories, free of charge. http://eepurl.com/cm-QVf


I am still pinching myself that I have been able to feature the one and only JT Lawrence here, and can highly recommend her books to you.  Even husband (who is not a reader at all) has really enjoyed the books that he has tried, and he currently has one sitting on his nightstand.

I really enjoyed getting to know JT Lawrence better, and adore her honesty and sense of humour.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and please let me know when you manage to read one of her books yourself.


MillenniOil

Mandi was one of the first people I made contact with when I moved to Joburg.  She is such a stunning creative, and her MilleniOil rollers are a necessity in my handbag and my home.  When Mandi recently announced her new product, the wax melts, I was super excited!  I am a big fan of beautiful scents, and I love it when someone walks into our home or office and immediately comments, “oooh, that smells so good.”

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I was very fortunate to be gifted an oil burner and some wax melts by Mandi (Spicy Chai; Very Vanilla; and Pink Grapefruit and Vanilla), and I immediately set this up next to my laptop.  My favourite scent is Spicy Chai, although I have a feeling I need to stock up on all her different options to give a fair and honest review – and honestly because I want to try them all out.  Mandi does deliver these throughout South Africa, so you can place your order with her directly, and I can guarantee her knowledge of essential oils is fantastic.


Your name: Mandi Laura

Business name: MillenniOil South Africa

Social media handles: Facebook and Instagram.

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What are some fun facts about you: I asked my family to answer these for me so feel free to use whichever ones you like:
1. I am an aspiring novelist
2. I am a homeschooling Mom of 4
3. I played an elephant in The Jungle Book school play
4. I am a Reiki Master, Oracle Card Reader and Clairvoyant/Clair Audiant
5. I am the type of person that will never stand to watch life just go by
6. I love my own company
7. I am the life and soul of the party. In fact: I am the party
8. I get restless when I am not creating.
9. I am quite opinionated and have some very strict ideas about right and wrong
10. I once fought with hijackers who, by the way, didn’t get away with my car
11. If set my mind to something, I am unstoppable
12. I think that most people are arseholes
13. When I love, I love with everything in me.

Tell me a little more about your business: I make Essential Oil Rollers and Eco Friendly Soy Wax melts.

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How did you get into this: I am a qualified Aromatherapist and have always used essential oils – MillenniOil South Africa came to me in a dream and I decided it was time to get easy to use oil rollers into the hands of my friends and family. I love my home to smell beautiful and comforting so I decided to create wax melts which again makes life easier for my customers – they don’t have to fiddle with fragrances and percentages, but can just pop in a wax melt into the burner and enjoy a perfectly scented home for 8 hours.

What have been some of your most popular items to create: My Momergency Kit Essential Oil Rollers for kids aged 2-10 – the perfect little bag which fits into moms handbag and contains a roller for any kind of mom emergency.

What is your personal favourite item you have done: I absolutely love the creative process that goes into making my wax melts. Mixing “potions” and having a beautiful product is my absolute best.

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What are the different items/products you can make: I make Essential Oil Rollers for many different ailments and conditions – easy to apply without having to know anything about the oils, ratios and safe dilutions for topical use.

Are you currently running any specials: Yes! I am running a Flowercrown special. Buy 4 different boxes of wax melts (R80 for 8 melts) and get a free burner worth R40. Use code Flowercrown to claim your free burner.

How can people order from you: via DM’s on my social pages or via email millennioilrollers@gmail.com

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What is the lead time for these: A few days – I try to ship within 3 days of ordering depending on the volume of orders – some times there may be a delay because the wax melts need time to cure before burning..

Why do you encourage people to support local: By supporting local small businesses you are literally putting food on a family’s table, you are helping to grow their business from a small idea into a profitable machine. There’s the saying that every time you buy from a small business, someone does a happy dance – I promise that is true in our home. Each order is celebrated, handmade and packed with love from our home to yours.

Quote you live by: Always be kind.

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I can quite honestly vouch for Mandi’s heart, friendship and passion – and also for all of her products.  She takes great pride in everything that she does and honestly deserves all the love and support in the world.  She is a wonderful mum, wife and friend, and I know that all of you will adore her just as much as I do!

I would definitely recommend you trying her wax melts – with such a variety of scents, there is something for everyone.

Special thanks to Mands for spoiling me, and always supporting me throughout everything.  You are one in a million and I will always be grateful for you x


 

21 Folds

When Carmen from 21 Folds reached out to me with regard to doing a collab, I spent some time looking through her posts and creations, and couldn’t actually believe that these detailed, tiny earrings were handmade with so much love and talent.  She has a process to get here, and every piece is unique.  Owning a pair of 21 Folds earrings is literally like owning a piece of art!

Yesterday we met up as she had created a pair just for me, and I had to hold myself back from giving her a great big squeeze (#socialdistancing), so we settled for elbow taps and squeals.  I immediately came home, threw on the earrings and put together a crazy makeup look to match the magic of my unicorn origami earrings.

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The earrings also reminded me why I am so obsessed with unicorns…

“When you hear hoofbeats look for horses not zebras.”

This is a saying that is common in the medical fraternity, and means that doctors should always look for the most common reason for the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing – so rather than assuming the person has a rare disease, assume it is something “normal”.  It is for this reason that rare patients are often referred to as zebras.  However, I think we should be known as unicorns as we are so rare, magical, and often a little crazy!  We shouldn’t exist, but we do, and we often try spread love and positivity wherever we are.

However, I digress, let’s get back to Carmen and her beyond-your-wildest-dreams talent!


Your name:  Carmen Esterhuizen

Business name:  21Folds

Social media handles:  Facebook, Instagram, and Website

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3 funs facts about you:

  1. I am a complete fantasy, scifi and DnD geek. I helped launch sci-fi and fantasy indie publisher Stubborn Raven and edited my husband’s short story for publishing.
  2. I for sure have ADHD, watermelon and mash potatoes are some of my favourite foods, but not together…never together.
  3. My husband & I are obsessed with travel and I have been to over 30 countries, on many a shoestring-budget but it is always an adventure.

Not so fun facts but facts nonetheless:
I have a Post grad in business from Wits business school, this has allowed me to consult in various fields and allows for a lot of insight in my own practice and businesses. #canrecommend
I’m a practicing audiologist and speech therapist, my practice is at Milpark hospital, I love my work in the medical field.

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Tell me a bit more about your business:  21Folds is still brand spanking new and currently we offer paper origami earrings as our main product! I can’t say it better than our about page so here it is:

A celebration of the intricacies of paper folding and the joy of wearing a piece of art. Each piece is designed with thought and made with passion. Welcome to 21Folds, where I blend art and adornment!

I create origami masterpieces that you can wear. But to me it’s more than jewelry – these origami pieces are the manifestation of what makes creating so amazing and fulfilling: An unavoidable wonderlust, forgetting about perfection and celebrating the wonderful, and the willingness to collaborate with my fellow human.

The variety of collections, which is the paper type and pattern, and the folds, are chosen and created in such a way that you will be able to find the collection style that speaks to you.

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Why origami: A friend actually left her origami book with some paper behind when she immigrated and I decided to pick it up one day in November last year, it frustrated the hell out of me so I just kept forging ahead until one day the technique clicked. Once it clicked I was really hooked on it and just kept escalating to more complex folds! (I always had some sort of folding gene where every school newsletter was folded up into a tiny square to get lost in the bottom of my backpack until the end of the term.)

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Have you always been interested in creative things: Yeah, I’ve always dabbled in something or the other, be it painting large murals on our house walls, editing books, building a desk (a circular-saw is for sure one of the best birthday gifts I have received recently) or just doodling. I was one of those kids that did every single extra-mural activity be it sports, arts or culture. Everything interested me (just not accounting). I think I enjoy learning a new skill and problem solving the most of all and it leads me into various creative spaces. Origami just seems to keep my interest more than most things., possibly a true passion has been born.

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Why did you start this business:  I received origami earrings as a gift over Christmas while traveling in Chille and Argentina, it was at the time where origami really became a pass-time for me, and I was like – ‘I could fold that’ and just started experimenting and creating more and more different folds and designs, pushing to get them smaller and smaller. I initially planned to start in selected store fronts and markets first and get a feel for what works before launching online but then covid hit so I had to pivot and push all my resources into developing a website and solidify my concept, and here we are!

So to sum it up, basically I started more out of pure joy of creating and the need to share that love and passion.

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What makes your earrings so unique:  Well even if I try the chances of me making two pieces exactly the same is very slim. Each paper pattern unfolds in its own way, I have an idea of where to place certain colours on certain folds to try and place a pattern in a specific spot, but in general I just let the folds go where they want. I also strive to collaborate with other artists, and humans are at the core of my inspiration for my art.

Do you do custom orders:  Not yet but soon! At the moment my focus is on solidifying my brand and growing a following, there will however be some limited edition (one of a kind type) ranges coming out!

What has been your favourite pair of earrings that you have created:  Oh gosh it’s like picking your favorite child! The Mori & Mukai collections are possibly my own personal favourites, not just because of the earring designs but because of the amazing women they were inspired by, it feels like the two women are polar opposites – one creative, artsy and a fashion designer and the other a doctor, astronaut and scientist. Both of these resonate with me, I love that I can be a medical professional and an origami artist, a DnD geek and a netball jock, I like that different things can occupy the same space. I think that’s true creativity.

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How can people order from you:  Online from my store www.21folds.com. Soon in some selected stores, and hopefully international shipping will be available in the near future.

Who do you think would enjoy your creations: Anybody that loves origami, art and design and appreciates the intricacies of the technique and how it blends with the art. I try to design something for everyone.

Quote you live by:

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein

“Fake it till you make it”

Anything else you want to add:  It takes 21 folds for me to fold the iconic crane, my first origami animal I folded, thus 21folds was born!

I have two adorable spaniels, you can check out their shenanigans on @a_bork_able!

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We are launching a giveaway today on my social media platforms, where you can win a pair of the gorgeous unicorn earrings for yourself.  These are not available for sale on Carmen’s website, and simply can’t hold a value due to the uniqueness and love!

Thank you so much Carmen for all that you are doing, and for sharing your talent with us.  You truly are one in a million, and I can’t wait to see more people wearing these beautiful creations.

Have you ever tried origami?  And what have you created?


 

MlsBeauty

I have been LOVING experimenting with new makeup, and recently I saw a post from Marie on one of the Facebook groups I am part of, and I was instantly drawn to her charismatic personality as well as her gorgeous makeup that she has created.  She has just launched a new eyeshadow palette, and it has given me all the feels – I can’t wait to get my hands on it (as well as everything else on her website!), and I am sure that you will feel the same when you see the beauty that is MlsBeauty!


Your name: Marie-Louise but I prefer Marie

Business name: Mlsbeauty (Marie-Louise’s Beauty lol), boring I know.

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Social media handles: Facebook, Instagram and Website

Tell me a little more about your business: I first started as a makeup artist about 7 years ago. I’ve always been inspired by American and British makeup artists and brands and always tried to import products from these countries. I saw the need to bring diversity in terms of makeup in SA and launched my cosmetics line 2 years ago.

How long have you been doing makeup for: About 7 years ago. I was looking for a simple eyebrow tutorial on YouTube and became hooked.

Why does makeup make you so happy: It’s a refuge for me. When I’m upset I grab a brush and just go with the flow. When things fall into place I’m suddenly in a good mood.

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What pushed you to start your own makeup line: The need of diversity in the South African Beauty Market.

What is your personal favourite item from your range: Can I pick 2? Cause they are really good. The Black Magic Palette and the Matte Lipstick in Negra, it’s a warm chocolate brown, I mix it with different lipsticks from the range.

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What have been your most popular items: The Matte lipsticks, so far. But there’s a growing interest for the Black Magic Palette. The Black Magic is pretty versatile in colours but is still a neutral palette. I didn’t want to create a palette full of brown shades only, we needed a palette that’s lively, magical but still wearable.

How much do you charge for makeup application:  My makeup rates start from R550.

I see you do makeup lessons too – how can people book with you: People can contact me through emails, DM or WhatsApp. I’m working on a bookings section on my website.

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How can people order items from you: I have all my items on my website, easy, fast and secure website.

What makes your makeup brand so different to others: Inclusivity in every sense of the word. I wanted to create a brand that caters to everyone and where everyone can identify themselves.

Quote you live by: Enhancing the Beauty that already exists. Because that’s the sole purpose of makeup.

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Marie, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you!  Your products are absolutely gorgeous, and so are you.  I love that your products are inspired by Africa, for Africans.

Marie is also currently running a 15% discount on her Black Magic Palette when you use the code WOMEN, so it is under R250 for a really versatile, gorgeous eyeshadow palette.  Please support this wonderful lady, and share her great products with all your friends.


 

KwirkNation

One thing that I have learnt about myself recently is that I am completely overwhelmed by lockdown emotionally, and I often feel like I need to just word vomit my feelings down onto paper so they no longer creep around my mind’s dark corners and reappear at the worst possible times.  I have been feeling so bogged down with the stress of trying to keep our family surviving on one salary, and just life in general that I have felt my little depression gremlin rearing his ugly head as he perches on my shoulder reaching his long finger deep into my thoughts.  And I know that I am not the only one going through this!

Sammy

And then, I met the most beautiful Sammy after a post on our local community Facebook group!  My health coach had been telling me for some time that I needed to take the time to journal, but I often feel like I need more guidance and don’t know where to start – so it’s been easier to just “forget” than to push through this block.

But with my new favourite journal from KwirkNation I feel like I can laugh as I get down my “crap” and honestly record my emotions for the day – with a special mood thermometer that is unique to KwirkNation.  I couldn’t WAIT to interview Sammy, and knew that she was the ideal start for Women’s Month.  This #GirlBoss is powerful, fun, and so kind – truly one in a million.  Plus she has offered all my readers a discount when you purchase one of your own and use code FLOWERCROWNS.

Keep scrolling to see why you need one of these journals in your life!


Your name: Sammy Nyoni

Business name: KwirkNation

Social media handles: Instagram, Facebook and Website.

What are 3 fun facts about you: I’m really good at memorising numbers, my favourite colour is black, I have to end every meal with something sweet no matter how full I am.

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Tell me a little more about your business: KwirkNation is a brand created for women, by women. What sets us apart from the crowd is our use of profanity to create lots of haha moments for all the quirky ladies in the country. There is this stigma that makes it seem as though using profanity as a woman is frowned upon or ‘unlady’ like which is something we would like to change through our content and merchandise.

Where did the idea for this come from: Last year I lost my hearing and a couple of other things were topsy turvy at the same time. I found myself just going through the motions, sinking deeper and deeper into a depression hole. This was until I took to writing my thoughts down more often, really focusing on not only the negative but also the positive that I had to be thankful for each day. I would make use of the regular journals with never ending blank pages that didn’t guide me down the path to gratitude or fill me with positivity to take on the day. This is why “Fuck this Kak” was created.

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Have you always enjoyed journaling: I have. I consider myself a creative writer with lots of ideas and lots of things to say so I journal to keep track of all these thoughts and ideas.

Who do you think would enjoy your journal: Our journal is definitely for quirky women who love a good laugh and aren’t opposed to using cuss words. Women who are fighters, some fighting battles that everyone else may not see. Women who fall but get back up with optimism and a kick-ass attitude . Women who live, eat and breathe sarcasm and profanity.

How can people place an order from you: At the moment our journal is available on our store and all of your loyal followers can use the promo code FLOWERCROWNS to get 10% off.

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I know you have another idea in the pipeline – can you tell me a bit more: We have an awesome new vent journal launching very very soon which will be our second edition in our series of quirky journals. Stay tuned to our Instagram page for the deets!

Quote you live by: “FUCK IT!!! Just do it!”

Anything else you want to add: We also have a “FORK” range launching soon with some exciting merchandise!

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I’m also a sucker for amazing branding and packaging, and Sammy truly exceeded all my expectations with hers (that’s why I had to include all of the images above).

And honestly, if you haven’t yet, try journaling.  You will be amazed at what it does to you emotionally, and this great journal for gatvol South African women is the perfect way to guide you on this journey whilst providing a guaranteed giggle!

Thank you Sammy for your love, passion and kind heart.  I have never met anyone like you, and can’t wait for this lockdown to be over so I can finally give you a hug and not our regular elbow/foot tap.  I wish you only success and happiness with everything KwirkNation, and can’t wait to see your Fork range.


 

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