Hi, my name is Megan, and I am addicted to watching candle pouring videos. I love to see the wax slide through into the mould, and watch as it slowly hardens and takes on a whole new form. I love to see people’s creativity brought to life, and I am on the edge of my seat as they uncover what has been created.
I think the algorithm saw this, and recommended that I start following Marisol Candles. This business is owned by two beautiful ladies who are showing how gorgeous the feminine shape is, and making candles unlike any that I have seen before. Their whole differentiating factor is that they are focused on celebration and representation. And their candles are absolutely gorgeous!
Can you tell me a little bit more about the business: We abruptly started our business out of our dad’s kitchen in January- much to his dismay, and we never expected the response we received in such a short space of time. As sisters, who are best friends but completely different, we formed an amazing team. We took creativity and finance, craftsmanship and marketing, and put them together to create Marisol Candles.
What makes your candles so unique: In terms of what makes them unique, is not just the candles themselves, but our business as a whole. We are two sisters who have a passion for people, for local businesses and empowering women. We believe, or rather hope, that this comes through when people look at our site, interact or buy from us. We truly love what we do. Also, our candles look and smell great, if we must say so ourselves.
Who would enjoy your candles: In terms of who enjoys the candles, our customer base is predominantly female. However, we have brought in a wide range of candles that people can choose from. We believe our candles are stylish and are the perfect gift and/or or coffee table statement piece.
How can people order these from you: We now have a super simple, easy to use website! We used to work through DM, however as we grew, we realised it was not going to work.
What are your favourite designs: Mitchel’s favorite design is our new curvy ladies, and Erin’s is the David sculpture candle! However, we love them all.
Which is your most popular candle: Our most popular candle is for sure our original lovely ladies!
What emotions do you want these to evoke: We said to ourselves from the beginning, that we want our candles to be open to interpretation. Some people buy them and feel empowered, some buy them because they are pretty and some simply buy them because they want a candle. It is entirely up to the customer. However, empowerment is definitely a core concept of ours, as well as celebration and representation.
What quote do you live by: “Just do it, feel the fear and do it anyway.” It sounds so cheesy, but really it has been our motto for the past 3 months since we started. You cannot grow and learn if you do not take the steps. We have learnt an unexplainable amount, and we really couldn’t be more grateful.
Anything else you want to add: In terms of ending it off, we just want to say to any small business owners, or those who want to start, do it. It may seem scary, but you will learn so much.
I love how gorgeous and special each of these candles are. I love that they are handmade with love, and that they represent the diverse beauty in South Africa.
Getting to know the ladies behind this brand has been am absolute treat as well, and I can’t wait to see them continue to grow and reach new heights.
Please continue to support small businesses where possible, and help to spread the word about these gorgeous candles. Can’t you imagine them lit and flickering in your bathroom? Or even on your bedside table? I know that I can, and I can’t wait to place my order for some.
A friend I went to school with has been a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I have seen how she has raised two beautiful children, and how she is constantly working to make South Africa a better place for the next generation. I have seen her raise difficult questions, work with others, and teach her children to be kind, considerate and loving towards others.
I saw her announce that she had started co-writing a book series named “Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics”, with the first book being “Willow Asks Why?”. I wanted to know more. This series of books is to be enjoyed by parents and their children together, and to show a way of speaking through difficult questions that kids may have – especially in all their honesty and innocence.
Your names: Kimberley Clow & Graham Geiger-Kirige
Business name: Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics
3 fun facts about you: Kim: * I am currently reading Brene Brown’s latest book, The Gifts Of Imperfection * Unashamedly obsessed with reality television. * In 2021; I am learning to speak Xhosa
Graham: * Life Motto: “Beards Before Razors” * Firm believer in tea bags being removed BEFORE milk is added. * Proud father of 8 house plants (I have read the book to them)
Tell me a little more about the book you have written: ‘Willow asks Why?’ is a story about the ever-curious Willow, who begins to question why there seems to be a different set of rules, for people of different races. Packed with light-hearted illustrations, the powerful message is that we should always question the world around us and learn to see the ‘invisible’ roles that privilege & structural racism play. Only then can we challenge them.
What age group is this aimed at: The book aims to spark conversations with kids of all ages, however if we had to give a specific age range, we’d say particularly kids between the ages of 2 and 4, as this is when they’re most vulnerable to societal stereotypes and prejudices.
What was the inspiration behind the book: Kim is a mother of two and has a diverse family. Naturally, she began searching for locally produced children’s books that would more accurately reflect the members of her own family. She managed to find a few but not nearly enough and decided to write her own story with a focus on promoting diversity & inclusion, in a South African context.
Graham is a lifelong family friend of Kim’s, a freelance Copywriter and part time woodwork teacher at the Little Warthogs Playschool – run by his wife, an early childhood development specialist. So when Kim pitched her idea of a children’s book series promoting diversity & inclusion, Graham swapped his power tools for a pen & paper.
Where can people purchase one from: You can order ‘Willow asks Why?’ on our website.
What is the price of the book: Our retail price is R120 and 15% of the profits of every book purchased will go to ARNSA – The Anti-Racism Organisation of South Africa. They work closely with the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations among many others to ensure that organisations are equipped to deal with racism within communities. Jump on to their website to find out more about their various initiatives and collaborators.
Why is this book so special to you: Kim: It’s a daily reminder of the strength my children gave me to step out of my comfort zone; and write a story that I believe in. There is massive racial bias in South Africa; and I would like to play an active role in trying to change this.
Graham: Learning to navigate your way through the world can be tough, let alone when you’ve barely cut your first tooth! Working on this book was special because it has the potential to help kids ask critical questions, discuss difficult topics in an open way and hopefully make a confusing world, slightly less confusing.
Why do you think this is a conversation we should be having with kids: Kids may begin identifying with race as early as 6 months old; and may start generalising by 2, therefore it’s super important to have these conversations as early as possible, before any misconceptions become ingrained. If kids can learn to discuss these problems when they’re young, they have the power and time to help change it.
Quote you live by: Kim: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Graham: “Reading is an exercise in empathy”
Anything else you want to add: ‘Willow asks Why?’ is the first book of a series, ‘Delightful Tales About Difficult Topics’. As the name suggests, the goal of each book will be to make it easier for parents to have open & honest conversations about complex topics, not covered enough within the children’s book genre. We have some ideas for future topics but no concrete decisions have been made, so watch this space!
I am so honoured to have been able to chat to amazing people like Kim and Graham, as well as Toys With Roots last year. We need to be aware of the way we speak to and about others, and we need to show our children the importance of acceptance, inclusion, and kindness.
This book is so needed in South Africa, and I could not be more proud of these wonderful people who have taken the step and making changes for our futures.
At the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.
Have you ever been on a holiday and immediately wished that you could return? Have you visited a resort where you were spoilt for choice, surrounded by beauty, and immediately felt your stress melt away as your drive through their gates?
Well, I am lucky enough to have experienced this – and The Cavern is my dream resort and holiday location.
I attended primary school in Hilton, Kwa Zulu Natal and my teacher at the time was Megan Bedingham (nee Carte) – whose family owns and runs The Cavern. As a special treat, our grade was invited to stay at this stunning resort. I remember the excitement at the idea of being able to go away on a holiday, and getting to experience a resort of this caliber. As a family we didn’t go away for holidays, so this was my first ever “holiday” and boy did it set the tone for what I expected going forward!
I remember being blown away at the beauty of the surroundings, the sense of peace that engulfed me, and the walks that left my legs aching for the next few days. Megan was one of my favourite teachers (yes, I was that nerd suck-up child – and I probably still am), and we reconnected over Facebook a while ago. I was so excited to learn that she and her family, along with her sister, are currently running The Cavern, and I knew that I simply HAD to feature them on my blog. Their reviews on local Facebook groups, and from friends who have visited recently have reminded me how spoilt we were to experience it for ourselves and I can’t wait to return with my husband!
Resorts and hotels have taken a terribly hard hit due to lockdown and travel restrictions, but The Cavern was determined to survive, take care of all their staff, and continue to support their outreach program. I think this shows their heart, and the fact that they have never given up on this dream.
Your name: Megan Bedingham
Name of your resort: The Cavern Drakensberg Resort
If you could describe The Cavern in just 3 words, what would they be: Family, outdoors, home.
Can you tell me a little bit of a history about The Cavern: The Cavern is a resort set in the Northern Drakensberg mountains. It’s a family business and we celebrate 80 years of many happy returns in 2021. Our story began when our grandfather, Bill, proposed to Ruth in a letter. He wrote; “Ruth, my darling, I plea as never before: Put your trust in me, marry me and be my mate in building up a home and a farm second-to-none in South Africa.” They moved to The Cavern farm in 1941 and so began the building of a dream.
4 children joined the farm animals but sadly after 13 short years Bill got cancer and died. But, Ruth was resilient and steadfast and kept going and fulfilling their dream.
In the 1970s Peter and Anthony, Ruth’s youngest sons, joined the family business. They grew it from a small guest farm to a thriving resort and by the 1980’s the Cavern was in full-swing! Holidays were about making new friends, hiking every mountain and ending each day with an evening activity. It was good fun and a great space to grow up.
Many years on, and we, the third generation, are now at the helm.
Why is this such a special place to you: It is not only a valley of exquisite beauty but a special place where people come to be restored. The mountains have that special kind of magic and they really do rejuvenate weary souls. We adopted Bill’s vision and we still work to fulfil his dream; “Our work is to create beauty, to make the land more fertile, to make our living, to leave the world better than when we came into it“.
Can you tell me more about the Drakensberg Community Outreach: Our family has always been involved in outreach work but we consolidated our efforts in 2006 and began working through two key initiatives: Royal Drakensberg Primary School and the Khanyisela Project, one independent foundation phase school and 18 pre-schools which are situated in the greater amaZizi village. Our aim is to give children a strong foundation for future learning. More recently we began BabyBoost which focuses on the first 1000 days and so we are developing a continuum for growth, from birth to 10 years. Our mission is for children to learn2read so that they can read2learn.
What is your favourite part of The Cavern: The hills. They are challenging and hard and yet they provide a space for reflection. The legs ache, the lungs burn but once the climb has been mastered there is a real sense of achievement and with this comes a deep sense of happiness and joy.
What is your differentiating factor to other resorts: Perhaps that we are family run. We have a wonderful team of staff who work hard to provide wonderful holidays in the great outdoors and we love that people return time and time again.
What is on offer to your visitors: There is hiking and horse riding, trout fishing, MTB trails, trail running, and we have the most gorgeous Forest Retreat Spa. There are tennis courts, lawn bowls, playgrounds for children and a refreshing pool with slippery slides for the kids. Indoor games when the weather isn’t great but also decks and lounges to just read or relax. Essentially The Cavern is a special tucked-away romantic getaway for couples, a gentle place to find quiet and solitude, as well as a safe and child-friendly resort with a range of activities for families.
How can people book with you: Email us: email@example.com OR Call: 083 701 5724 OR 036 438 6270
What is included in your bookings: We offer a fully inclusive package with our daily rates including all meals, teas and guided morning hikes into our exceptional wilderness.
Why do you think people continue to return to The Cavern once they have visited: The Cavern really is a place where families bond, friendships are formed and memories are made. Many families love to return to something that is familiar and they love to return to rekindle happy memories.
Quote you live by:
“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that can overwhelm the world”
Anything else you want to add: The mountains provide such a wonderful space for families. During this pandemic families have needed a place to go because nature nurtures – there is peacefulness in the forests, comfort in the hills and beauty in the surrounds. As 2021 begins, we carefully tread into the next season…
If I could be anywhere right now, I would choose to be at The Cavern.
I would love to be surrounded by the beautiful Drakensberg mountains, taking long walks with Warren and breathing in fresh air. I would love to experience their Forest Retreat Spa, fall down onto a beautiful bed after a long day outside, and belly laugh until my cheeks hurt. I want quality time with my husband without the stress that seems to have been following us all around over the past 12 months – and beyond.
The mountains seem to be singing my name. And I can’t wait to answer her call.
When my friend Jane Linley-Thomas posted about some gorgeous earrings that she had had made by ladies living in Valley of 1000 Hills, I knew that I had discovered an absolute gem! Not only is this project empowering women, but it is also providing them with a skill that can be passed from generation to generation, and giving them a chance to earn an income so they can offer a better life for them and their families.
Philippa Spark is the wonderful lady behind this great project, and when I reached out to her to see if I could feature this business on my blog, she immediately jumped on it. And seeing the creations that have been made have really reminded me of how much I love these – and what a great Christmas gift they would make.
3 fun facts about you: • My perfect day would start with champagne and end with… champagne. • I would love to meet, and even have lunch with, Kamala Harris. • My dream home would be a petite penthouse apartment in the 6th or 7th arrondissement of Paris with an outdoor terrace overlooking the roof tops and chimney pots of the city I love most in the world.
Tell me a bit more about what you do: I work with women and some men in the Valley of 1000 Hills on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa, creating beautiful, bespoke beaded items for customers the world over.
What makes your jewellery so special: We use only the best quality glass beads out of the Czech Republic and we use only the best quality beaders. We invest a huge amount of time in proper training and therefore we have an incredible team, creating the “best of the best” items possible.
Do you do custom orders: Yes, absolutely.
How can people order from you: Most customers order through Instagram, which is working very well. I am always available to help and to reply to any queries that come through to me.
What is your personal favourite set: I have many! There are so many different items to love, so it is tricky to choose, however, I do love the new range I have just launched called the “Saint Cloud” range – named after a suburb in Paris (naturally).
What have been your most popular items: • The entire Frida range. • Tassel earrings of all shapes and colour combinations imagineable.
Why do you encourage people to support local: We need to do what we can to support our people. As a country we need to unite and this is a fine way to do it. We are stronger together.
Can you tell me a little more about the ladies that make these works of art: At present we have a team of twelve ladies and one man who work with us pretty much full time. They are all (every single one of them) supporting their families through their craft and as such, every single order facilitates the upliftment and the support of multiple families in the area. A fact that makes my heart soar with joy.
Quote you live by: “What is meant for you will not pass you by.” “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”
Anything else you wish to add: I wish only the best for our entrepreneurs, for our country, for the world. Today and every day.
Aren’t these beyond gorgeous? And wouldn’t they make such a divine Christmas gift? Please consider supporting local businesses when choosing your gifts – and what better than something unique, handmade, and put together with so much love. And I love their Christmas baubles too! Every year husband and I choose a special decoration for the year – I think I may have to order some of these for 2020.
I first “met” Nombuso during lockdown when she interviewed me for a segment on SABC about living with a rare condition during the pandemic. We have kept in contact, and she often sends me the most beautiful messages to keep me motivated and smiling.
Recently she contacted me to tell me about her most recent venture, where she is personalising Summer straw hats. I don’t know about you, but I have always seen these on Pinterest and Instagram, and have been wanting one of my own for the longest time, but had no idea where to order them from. I immediately jumped up and down, and told her I DEFINITELY wanted one of the blush pink ones. And now, I can’t wait for you to see more about her gorgeous business…
Your name: My name is Nombuso Mahlangu
Business name: Nombz Personalized Hats
Social media handles:Instagram and Twitter but I run my business mostly from WhatsApp: 0726847053 for all orders and enquiries 🌻
3 fun facts about you: • I’m an avid reader but I sometimes buy more books than I read. • I’m a good singer and think one day before I die, I’ll be a Superstar. • I love pets, all pets and I sometimes borrow my neighbors cat without him knowing because Mia (the cat) and I have a special bond.
Tell me a little more about your business: I started collecting summer hats when I would frequent Mozambique for my summer vacations, which I would take every year in November without fail. I then started seeing other travelers with their own personalized hats even if it wasn’t their names but if it was a group of girls they would all have a theme and embroid their hats accordingly.
One thing bothered me though I never saw those hats personalized in African names or South African names such, Lebo, Asanda, Rorie and I wanted to be the person who brings that joy to everyone by rendering such services.
When I discovered that I can do that, then the most exciting part of learning how to select fonts and digitize was amazing as I work with a guy named Clet, he knows how finicky I am about fonts for the names and he made that process a breeze.
The day I started I think I had two orders from a lady who works at Old Mutual and soon after I used her pictures everyone suddenly wanted.
I am super excited with where my business is going and can’t wait to work with more corporates.
What makes your hats different to others available: hahahahaha I love this question, literally no one can steal your hat because it has your name on it and straw hats are a definite lifesaver for the sun both for your face and shoulders. Plus I even have the super sizes.
How can people order from you: Yay 💃🏽my favorite part, people can reach me directly on WhatsApp 0726847053
Do you do custom orders: Yes, yes and yes that’s the whole point of the company. Doing what you want and how you want it.
What is the price range of these: R250 for the hat with anything you want embroidered + R99 courier fee – Only if you not around Joburg or Pretoria. I have my super size for R350.
Do you deliver throughout South Africa: yes I do 😁
What are your different colour options: • Cream white • Black • Blush pink • Yellow • Red • Beige • Tan
Quote you live by: Always show up!
I am SO excited to receive my hat – I have asked Nombuso to surprise me with the font and size of the hat. I promise I will be splashing this all over my social media pages, and with the extreme heat we are experiencing currently it is the perfect time to get your order in before she becomes too busy.
Why not get one as a gift for a friend that is getting married? I can just picture how cute this would be on a honeymoon, or even on a girls’ trip.
Nombuso, my dear friend, I am so grateful to have met you and I really wish you all the best with this very exciting venture. Sending you all the love and positive vibes that you deserve x
I know, it has been a while since my last blog. The last few weeks have been a blur, with many days rolling into one another, and 12 hour workdays becoming the norm. I feel like I am on a hamster wheel, and could be thrown off at any moment. BUT, I love the work that I do and am so grateful that I do still have a job after lockdown.
My feature today is on a small business that has been on my radar for some time, and I am so excited to be able to feature Bitchin’ Tees on my blog today, as I am sure that you will love Corne and her business as much as I do – plus she makes unicorn gin, which obviously peaked my curiosity even more!
I can’t wait for you to read more about her, get to know this business better, and I am sure that you will want many of her creations for yourself (and your friends).
3 fun facts about you: I am a jeans and tshirts kinda girl. Although I am a very proud South African, I am very much a wannabe American – I want to celebrate all of their holidays… I am sure you would have noticed I am an avid follower of Hastag holidays. Any excuse to celebrate. Apart from our Gin, champagne is my fav drink.
Tell me a little more about what you do: I am a Tax Accountant by day – I work for an international IT firm’ headoffice where I look after the tax affairs of the South African entities. But by night, my the tshirt ninja makes her appearance. 😊 I studied at RAU / UJ, and I have a masters degree in South African and International Taxation. That kept the left brain Corne happy until I had kids. I started needing a creative outlet….and just after my last baby, I had the slogan tee brainwave. I have always loved slogan tees and my pinterest boards were and still is full of them. My husband has an entrepreneurial streak and he always said I should start up a little business of my own, and boom, the rest is history.
What makes your tees so special: My tees are made by a mom, for moms! I felt the need to make lovely mommy tees and some passive agressive or quirky tees for those tough mommy days that no one really talks about. I wanted to make mamas smile amid parenting chaos. I wanted moms to feel heard. Bitchin Tees aims to celebrate all the beautiful, quirky, and funny moments of being a mom but keeping it real by letting the t-shirts say what is really on their minds.
What pushed you to start this business: The need to eventually own my own time is what pushed me to start Bitchin’ Tees. My kids are getting bigger, and I want to be there for them as they need me for school activities etc. Also as mentioned, my husband has this entrepreneurial streak and he encouraged me to start something that I could call my own. Bitchin’ tees is my 4th baby – probably the girl that everyone keeps asking about. lol 😊
I see you have recently added gin to your range – please tell me about these: This was all my husband. Before lockdown, he and one of his best friends ordered a copper still from Spain – for a hobby…then lockdown happened, and the delivery of our pot was seriously delayed. Between the first and second alcohol ban, our pot managed to get through the borders and delivered. They then started playing around with rum, whiskey brandy and gin… and we called it Prohibition, cause we were in prohibition. 😊 We were doing research on gins, and flavours and I got the idea of adding edible glitter to our gin, to make it pretty….. and if you know me, you know I like anything and everything with pink, glitter and sparkle. During the research, we found our flagship flavour and an FDA approved alcohol glitter… and BOOM, “Unicorn” was born. At this point, our fantasy range was born and we have a range of gins which are as delicious as they are beautiful to look at! Magical Unicorn, Enchanted Galaxy and Mischievous Mermaids are some of the flavours in the range.
Why do you encourage people to support small businesses: You know that old saying saying “hand made with love”…. This is why I support small businesses and would like people to support small business. I take so much care in each and every t-shirt that gets made. Getting to know my customer, why they want the slogan they have chosen and getting to be part of their everyday lives when they send me pics with them in their tees. From there a friendship blooms. They know that they are not only invoice number 2689, they are an actual person with a name. In it makes me feel amazing that I get to make a difference in someones lives… to make them feel special.
Do you do custom orders: I do – 60% of my orders are custom. 😊 again, that’s why building the relationship mentioned above is so important for me.
What have been your most popular items: The most popular items by far were our naughty valentines briefs! Mama’s still got it for their hubbies! Lol. Quarantine Father’s day and Mother’s day apparel was huge for obvious reasons. After that – our Tjommies tee was a winner. This was inspired by the owner of Jelebebe Thea Jonker! A bunch of times, my friends just sends me pics of tees and I try it out. And this one was by far a hit. Our Harry Potter Baby Items was a winner – I have a whole bunch of clients raising little wizards!
What is your personal favourite item: Anything and everything WONDER Woman and glitter …. And there is one specific cup, that I love.
Quote you live by: Ignorance is bliss. Most of my successful endeavours were achieved when I did not know what was coming my way. If I had known, I might never have gone for it, I might have been too afraid.
Anything else you want to add: I want Bitchin Tees to be a one-stop shop of happiness for everyone who visits my store. A shop where moms (ladies) can come to shop mainly for themselves, whilst adding little goodies for the rest of the family in the cart as well. We started with ladies T-shirts, and we added caps, tote bags, cups, baby onesies and dad tees to the site. We also now have the gin range, and we have also added the prohibition range of whiskey, rum and brandy to our shop.
Corne, you are SUCH a joy, and I have loved getting to know you better. I can’t wait until we can meet for our cake and coffee, and I definitely need some of that Unicorn Gin in my house!
Please support this stunning business for any custom orders, gift ideas, and just to spread a little more kindness in the world. You won’t regret it.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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