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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dror Eyal Photography

Dror Eyal

Eco Photographs???  The only way you can have eco photographs is to insist that all your wedding photographs are digital.  That way you can sort through the photographs and print the ones that you like the most.  You will always have a digital reference and can also post them to your wedding website for friends and family.  

Finding the right photographer is not something to be taken lightly.  A photographer has to be able to capture the magic of your wedding.  His lens has to capture each moment creatively.  Photographers who randomly shoot pictures and then pass off your double chin as a natural photograph will ruin your very precious moments, captured on film for an eternity.  You will go to a lot of effort to look beautiful and have your day go by without a glitch only to be left with awful pictures.  Unfortunately this is where you do not attempt to find the cheapest solution.  The key solution to avoiding wedding photograph hell is to meet with a few photographers or visit their sites to see weddings they have shot in the past.  You will connect with the right photographer through his work.

I spend hours looking for eco vendors and suppliers and I love wedding images.  However, a wedding photographer pattern often emerges where the same boring shots are taken time and time again.  A group of groomsmen jumping with sunglasses on, the bride standing in arches with a bunch of flowers etc.  The best photographers are the ones who capture the emotion, the mood and the personality of the bride and groom.  Someone who allows you to see into the love of the couple.   

In one such search I found a South African photographer Dror Eyal.  His images are incredible, different and captivating.  Please have a look at his site and browse through the wedding albums or simply watch the flash player.

I have included some of his photographs I liked best. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mother of the Bride, Mothers Day Competition

Most of us turn into Bridezilla at one time or another, whether we like to admit it or not.  Usually, however there is only one witness, your Mom.  This is an extremely stressful time for the mother of the bride.  She has to be so many things to so many people but most of all she has to see her little girl walk down the aisle and away from her side.  This is the woman who has been someone’s daughter, someone’s lover, a caregiver and a nurturer.  She planned your first birthday, took care of you when you were sick, consoled you when you were heartbroken and now she will be there on the most wonderfully special day of your life…..your wedding.  This is no easy feat.  She will cry when you put your dress on for the first time, help you through the stressful times and agree with you when you are clearly turning into bridezilla, telling everyone else how well you have handled the stress of organising a wedding.  

She will fold invitations, remember the things that you forget, pay vendors and still love you at the end of it.  Why? Because she is your mother, she has brought you into this world and because she loves you with every bit of her soul.

Your Moms efforts should not be expected or go unnoticed by you.  Yes, she will still love you after you abuse her compassion but you need to love her back.

Before the wedding invite your Mom to a special day with just you.  Go to a botanical garden for a picnic or go to a spa for some relaxation sessions.  You could also get a bottle of wine and buy some beauty treats for Mom, like Esses' organic skincare range for more mature skins. 


Please send your name, the date of your wedding and what eco steps you have taken in your wedding plans to  Your wedding will be featured on and you will also receive African Organics shampoo and conditioner and Esse serum and moisturiser.
Competition closes 6 May 2010.

African Organics has a wonderful array of organic hair care items and Esse who they are associated with have the most amazing skin care products.  They are giving away a shampoo for dry/treated hair and a conditioner as well as a rich moisturiser for mature skins and a skin serum.  These are incredible products and I swear by them because I use them myself.  Not only will you be giving Mom a fantastic gift but you will also be introducing her to products that are eco friendly and organic. 


Esse full facial and body care range comes as close to organic as there is to find. Certified organic by EcoCert, animal friendly by Beauty Without Cruelty SA, fair trade by PhytoTrade Africa and endorsed by the Vegan Society, discerning consumers can be assured of effective and ethical beauty treatments.  Esse incorporates many of Africas Sub Saharan plant ingredients, all sustainably harvested, for their amazing skin care benefits.  All products are 100% bio-degradable and free of all undesirable ingredients including parabens, petrochemicals, pthalates, synthetic fragrance and artificial colourant. Products are packaged in glass, for easy re-cycling and Esse offers a re-cycle initiative to any customers wishing to return empties.

African Organics
African Organics presents for the first time in South Africa, a 100% natural range of hair and body care products.  With years of experience in formulating to natural and organic standards, our formulators were presented with a brief to produce a 100% natural range that everyone can afford to use without compromising on quality.

Rooted in Africa, the plant ingredients we include have adapted to the harshest conditions on the planet by producing some of the most powerful protective ingredients known to man.  The sourcing of these ingredients also creates opportunities for local communities to benefit from the profits in sales of these raw materials through fair trade initiates.  These initiatives ensure sustainable harvesting and fair retribution.

In the interests of healthier humans inhabiting a healthier Earth, we are committed to not using parabens, petrochemicals, sulphated surfactants, animal products, ethoxylated or PEG ingredients, propylene glycol or any other ingredients red-flagged by leading international certification authorities.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Save the Whales

I have already signed the petition to put a stop to whale hunting.  It is barbaric, cruel and worst of all completely unnecessary.  They need a huge outcry of people to stop the lifting of the global ban on commercial whale hunting.  Please read the letter and sign the petition.

Dear friends,

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A new proposal would lift the global ban on commercial whale hunting. Countries are deciding their positions on it now, so an outcry is needed -- sign to protect the ban and save the whales:

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Take Action Now!
The International Whaling Commission has just unveiled a proposal to legalize commercial whale hunting for the first time in 24 years.

Countries are now deciding their first responses -- and they're watching public reaction closely. New Zealand called its provisions -- which include a legal quota for hunting endangered fin whales -- "offensive," "unacceptable," and "inflammatory." But other key nations are rumoured to be leaning in support of it. They need to hear from us now.

Avaaz has launched an urgent petition to show our leaders their people want to protect whales, not hunt, kill, and sell them. Already, 400,000 people have signed -- and the petition is being sent to the International Whaling Commission each time it reaches another 100,000 signatures. Sign here and forward this message:

A strong international consensus has opposed whaling for decades -- but for just as long, Japan, Norway, and Iceland have continued to hunt whales, ignoring the global ban on whaling or exploiting a loophole by claiming their expeditions were "scientific research." Now they could be rewarded by this "compromise" proposal, in which their commercial whaling would be made legal in exchange for unenforceable promises to slowly reduce their yearly catch.

Worse still, a number of other countries are watching the process closely in hopes of launching their own whaling programs. If Japan, Norway, and Iceland can hunt whales and sell their meat, others will ask "if them, why not us?"

It's time to save the whales -- again. The IWC proposal will be voted up or down by country delegates this June, but their positions are hardening fast -- let's respond massively, right away, everywhere. Click below and forward this message to oppose the legalization of commercial whale hunting:

Forty years ago, whales were on the brink of extinction. But thanks to a global social movement, the world banned commercial whaling in 1986. The ban is one of the environmental movement's great triumphs.

Today, whales still face many threats: not just the whalers' harpoons, but also climate change, destruction of ecosystems by overfishing and pollution, and nets intended for other fish. A renewed wave of commercial whaling could devastate these extraordinarily intelligent and social cousins of humanity. This is no time to move backwards.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Paula, Iain, David, Luis, and the whole Avaaz team


"Whaling plan draws anger from green groups" - BBC, 22 April 2010

"IWC whaling proposal 'offensive'" - New Zealand Herald, 23 April 2010

Background on the 1986 international moratorium on whaling:

Read the actual proposal here (PDF format):

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Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.


Floral arrangements can cost a fortune, not only hurting your pocket but hurting the environment, too.  Get your florist to arrange local, seasonal and organic cut flowers for your arrangements this will benefit your pocket and the environment.  Here is a list of the seasonal and local flowers for South Africa.

January & February 
Gladiola,  Agapanthus, Roses, Gerbera, Daisy, Carnations, Hydrangeas, Chrysanthemums,

March, April & May 
Daisy, Gerbera, Roses, Agapanthus, , Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Gyps, , Gladiola, Hydrangeas

June & July 
Lilli,  Red Berries, , Chrysanthemum, Carnations, Orange Berries

August & September 
Anemones, Azaleas, Snowdrops, Iris, Flowering Yellow Mimosa, Sweet Peas, Blossom Trees, Freesias, Camellias, Magnolias, Japonica, Star Gazer Lilies,  Gladiola, Gerberas, Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Orchids, Poppies, Arum Lilies, Blushing Brides, Jasmine, Daffodils, Proteas.

October & November 
Larkspur, Roses, Delphiniums, Carnations, Anthrinums, Chrysanthemums, Cornflowers, Pride of Madera, Snapdragons, Peonies,

December, Agapanthus Larkspur, Delphiniums, , Carnations, Peonies, Anthiriums, Snapdragons, Cornflowers, Pride of Madera’s, Gerbera ,Chrysanthemums, Gladiola Broom, Star Gazers, Casablanca’s, , Anthiums, Hydrangeas, Miscellanies Daisy, Alsoemeria, Roses.

South Africa is rich in grasses and using these in borrowed or rented silver vases, still safe in their soil and ready to be replanted after your wedding.  Use some seasonal flowers of your choice and place them sporadically in and around the grasses. 

Another eco idea is to have goldfish bowls on the tables.  Use an all white base and add an orange gerbera in a white folded napkin with a green ribbon.

Honestly I cannot stand going to a wedding and not being able to see the other half of the table because of an unnecessarily huge flower arrangement.   You can also use bottles and place individual flowers in each.  This is a very contemporary and clean décor option.

You will need flowers for your ceremony, your and your bridesmaids bouquets, the groom, groomsmen and male family members as well as your drinks tables and reception.  

Here are some other ideas.

Hope you enjoyed these ideas and that your eco wedding plans are going well.  


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jenna Clifford


Beauty surrounds Jenna Clifford in all that she does.  Her designs are timeless and her creative spirit apparent in every signature piece.  “Great art is eternal, the eye never tires of it, the heart is always moved by it, for generations to come it is a piece of wonder.”  These words have never been truer when it comes to Jenna Clifford Designs approach to fine jewellery design. She is acutely sensitive to the messages that we receive from nature. “No ring is just a stone within metal, every design pays tribute to you as a unique individual.  Jenna Clifford Designs is so much more than the exquisite products it produces – the entire company was developed with care and forethought. It is a South African brand which is passionate about this country; it encourages success and celebrates achievement.

Established in 1992, Jenna Clifford Designs is a brand which is synonymous with passion, style and luxury. The company originally focussed exclusively on jewellery design, but today has grown to include four innovative brands: Jenna Clifford Fine Jewellery, Renaissance by Jenna Clifford, Jenna Clifford Homeware and Jenna Clifford Trophies.

The Jenna Clifford Fine Jewellery brand trades only in fine cut diamonds and precious coloured gemstones to create treasured heirlooms. Renaissance Jewellery by Jenna Clifford was created to target those individuals who seek affordable, wearable pieces which still speak to the individual’s style and taste.

These are all engagement rings from their latest Fine Jewellery collections – they are master crafted in solid white gold [750] and contain diamonds.

Renaissance by Jenna Clifford

Jenna Clifford’s clients know that joie de vivre encompasses a life without regret. A life planned, a life enjoyed, a life that takes time to work and time to play. A renaissance is a time for great and creative change, when we think renaissance in history we think of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, the printing press, the Medici’s. A renaissance gives birth to the unforgettable. A renaissance gives us the opportunity for new ways of looking, better ways of living. A renaissance allows us to remove that which has become redundant and to bring in that which enhances, enriches and excites.

Jenna Clifford’s Renaissance jewellery is a playful, exciting range that adds sophistication to your image, it embodies wit with sensuality, and adds glamour and style to your appearance, whether a night at the opera or a boardroom presentation.

Eminently affordable, Renaissance by Jenna Clifford allows you to build a meaningful jewellery collection with elements that are contemporary and embody high fashion, while other pieces are classic chic, timeless in their elegance.

Renaissance by Jenna Clifford is crafted in solid gold [375].
The first image (JC677) is a fresh water pearl bracelet set in solid white gold [375]. It is from our Renaissance by Jenna Clifford collection and contains the iconic Jenna Clifford roses – symbolic of Love, Beauty, Passion and Truth.

The Swan bookmark. Notice the inscription on its neck line.

Jenna Clifford Heirloom Objet d ‘Art

Home is where the heart is. Home is where the spirit resides, where love lives and dreams are allowed their freest expression. A gift for the home is a very intimate salute to someone for whom we not only have respect, but great affection too. The Jenna Clifford Homeware range enjoys the same attention to detail as the jewellery range, and the products offer beauty, value and practicality.  As with the Jenna Clifford jewellery, symbology is intricately woven into the design, with the intention of bringing peace and success into the home.

Jenna Clifford fine homeware and tableware encourages intuitive giving imbued with a wish. Crafted in the finest antimony pewter, individually designed and master crafted to perfection, Jenna Clifford Heirloom Objet d ‘Art makes for exceptional corporate and private gifts.
Please find attached two special items from our Heirloom Objet d ‘Art (Fine Home and Tableware) collection.
Dream Big by Jenna Clifford

Dream Big is a good will initiative inspired and driven by Jenna Clifford and Ryk Neethling to inspire people to imagine and live up to their own inner potential by dreaming big. Dream Big reflects the key values of Determination, Responsibility, Excellence, Aspiration and Motivation.  Dream Big is also powerful, philanthropic initiative inspired by Jenna Clifford and Ryk Neethling to unite and harness the dual power of genders and instil a visionary, balanced, prosperous society that Dreams Big! Dream Big supports the WSPCCA (Walter Sisulu Paediatric and Cardiac Centre for Africa) as well as the Tomorrow Trust. A percentage of proceeds on all Dream Big items sold go to these special and unique children organizations.

The Dream Big initiative is symbolized by the rose – an enduring symbol of love, beauty and truth, representing unity and passion. The Rose is a symbol of all that is within both male and female – the act of giving and accepting.

Dream Big is about inspiring individuals to realize their potential – but also about being able to give back to our society at the same time. The Tomorrow Trust and the Walter Sisulu Pediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa receive a percentage of royalties from Dream Big products.  The Tomorrow Trust is a dynamic organization that focuses on orphans and other vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. The WSPCCA addresses the issue of heart defects in babies and small children from Africa.

The Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa (WSPCCA): The WSPCCA is the largest paediatric unit in Africa. Jenna Clifford is a WSPCCA trustee. Tomorrow Trust: The Tomorrow Trust provides education to vulnerable and orphaned children.

The Said Foundation: The Said Foundation fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between animals and humans. Jenna Clifford is a patron and sponsor of this foundation.

Jenna Clifford’s land rehabilitation project in Mpumalanga has seen Clifford and her team remove 160 000 harmful Blue Gum trees from 150 hectares of land. This land has been rehabilitated to grassland and a nursery has been opened on the property. Indigenous grasses and over 3000 indigenous trees have been planted to alleviate water consumption of alien species. Over 22 000 indigenous trees have been grown in the nursery, and 7000 of these trees have been planted. Tree planting is still in progress.  In addition to attracting a myriad of animal species to this land, these significant environmental enhancements have had a positive effect on the surrounding communities. The nursery currently employs 14 individuals who were previously unemployed. The team, who had very rudimentary gardening skills, has received training and are now equipped with horticultural skills such as seed propagation and landscaping.

Sandton: Tel: +27 (11) 523 6600– Pretoria: Tel: +27 (12) 368 1490, Nelson Mandela Square: +27 (11) 086 153 6622, Cedar Square: +27(11)244 7860

Thursday, April 1, 2010


An enchanting, three-century old wine estate (Anno 1691) on the edge of Stellenbosch, has risen like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes over the past seven years to become one of the Cape’s most exclusive wineland destinations.  When the wine farm, Verdun, was bought by entrepreneur, Markus Rahmann in 2001, the vineyards were fairly well established but the outbuildings were in a run-down condition.  Today, the newly-named luxurious “Asara” with its latest 5-star hotel addition, is almost unrecognisable.  A 36 bed-roomed hotel opened on the estate in May, 2008, where guests can indulge in five-star luxury  accommodation, fine wine tastings, superb service, and gourmet dining in either of the two restaurants, Raphael’s and Bistro & Tapas @ ASARA. All of which boast spectacular views with their tranquil waterside setting, backed by the grandeur of the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains and vineyards all around providing an idyllic backdrop.  Discreetly tucked away in the middle of the vines of this working wine estate, one of Asara Hotel’s many attractions is its warm, relaxed hospitality.  Asara also make use of the  reduce, reuse and recycle criteria within their hotel and venue.  They also have a system in place to ensure the correct amount of items are in stock and that all containers and cardboard are sent to recalling therefore reducing the amount of waste collected weekly.  All their plastic, glass and food items (wet and dry) are collected by a recycling company weekly.  Food items are collected by pig farmers weekly.  Solar panels ensure that the hotel uses less electricity.

The name “Asara” derives from the names of the African gods of Earth, Sun and Sky, and represents the harmony of nature reflected in the estate’s range of award winning wines.  The entire concept is the brainchild of owners, Markus and Christiane Rahmann. Buying a winery was never at the top of the Rahmann’s “To do” list, but a chance trip to South Africa on the back of a motorbike led to a whole new inspiration and direction in life.  This endeavor definitely has a long term view. Going into the hotel and wine industry means time and much investment. “We are here in the long term to add value to the wine and hospitality industry”.

Both the restaurants and bar offer the option of Al fresco dining overlooking the picturesque dams with its vast array of birdlife, mountains and vineyards, and offer everything from affordable light meals to fine-dining delights.  Bistro & Tapas @ ASARA on the waters edge offers a unique vibe with its wood and maroon décor, as well as the individually created and prepared bite-size Mediterranean inspired dishes, served up alongside typically informal bistro fare.  Raphael’s, the continental-style, classical restaurant on the estate, provides versatile dining room seating. With its timeless furnishings of brocaded chairs, sparkling glasses and
crisp white tablecloths, guests can enjoy a whole range of classic European cuisine, all perfectly prepared under the well-experienced guidance of French-Alsacienne Executive Chef, Patrick Bischoff, either indoors or on the outdoor veranda.

Patrick’s philosophy of “five-star cuisine in a world class setting, incorporating local produce” can be complimented by Asara’s range of award wining wines as well as the exclusive Vinoteque stock, offering 20 000 bottles of the finest and rarest local and foreign wines for the connoisseur’s selection.  The “Sansibar” Whisky & Cigar Lounge Bar (named after the bar on the island of Sylt, North West Germany), has a great warm ambiance of its own, and is proving a favourite day-time or after-dinner spot for guests looking to indulge in a cigar from the built-in humidor feature, with a dram of the finest single malt whiskey.

There is no cutting of corners here at Asara. Everything is simply of the best quality, be it from its carefully trained staff, the extra spacious rooms with modern bathrooms, elegant décor, to the exquisitely prepared and presented food.
Colour schemes, fabric selections and décor, are the result of Markus and Christiane’s natural flair for elegance and quality. Simple, yet exotic orchids, which are Asara created and registered, are perfectly placed around the hotel.  One of the most characteristic features of Asara is its extraordinary lighting. The specially selected Tiffany lamps and chandeliers, which are supplied from Markus’ own export lighting business in China, are quite exceptional, and these state-of-the-art designs blend in beautifully as features of their very own.  There many things to explore and talk about at Asara. You may wish to taste of its many outstanding wines in the Wine Tasting Centre, browse through the range of imported Asara  brand clothing, buy some fresh treats from the in-house Delicatessen & Confectionary to take home with you. These attractions are situated around a beautiful small-village style centre fountain courtyard, overlooking the spectacular Stellenbosch valleys and mountains.

It’s the perfect place for a special occasion. Not only could you get married here in sumptuous style in the Grand Ball Room, you may even place your wedding register here at the Estate’s kitchen emporium “High End Kitchens @ Asara”. A stay in the fairytale three storey Avalon honeymoon suite, complete with spiral staircase, a bath under a huge chandelier, specially created for this very unique room is a treat of its own. It’s a place to celebrate!

Asara Wine Estate & Hotel, a 2009 member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux Association, is ideally located in the heart of the Winelands, close to numerous cultural, historical and culinary attractions, as well as award winning golf courses, all a mere 20 minutes drive from Cape Town International Airport.

Our function hall can accommodate up to 160 people with a dance floor (if you feel like dancing the night away), and 180 without. There is also a large lawn area outside the hall with views over our vine yards and dams in which we can arrange a marquee tent that will be able to seat up to 500 guests.

If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate affair feel free to utilize one of our smaller restaurant venues – Raphael’s, the Bistro & Tapas, or even the Sansibar lounge with its veranda overlooking the stunning mountains and vineyards. The choice is yours...

Allow our talented chefs to create a menu for your big day, tailored to suit your individual needs and tastes, and, of course, all of our fabulous food will be perfectly complemented by a selection of our very own ASARA wine. Leave all the stress and planning to our experienced staff, which can ensure that you walk away with the greatest memories.  After the reception, treat yourselves to a night or two in our stunning three storey honeymoon tower – the Avalon Suite. With its winding staircase and romantic Victorian bath it is the perfect way to begin your new life together.

Creating the wedding you both desire can be a very stressful endeavour. Our professional staff will make your planning worries and stress disappear while you maintain control of your day.  We will help you create your vision of a personal and memorable wedding by reducing the stress involved in the planning. Here are a few things to remember!

12 to 6 months in advance

Get the date
Plan your budget
Arrange your ceremony time, day and year
Meet the marriage officer
Plan your first guest list
Call ASARA wine estate to get the perfect venue – ask for a ceremony location on the vine yards
Decide on Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Find and meet a photographer
ASARA is working with one of the best wedding planners in Cape Town to assist you in all your
planning and organisation
Get a folder where you can put all your wedding papers inside:
Your ID Books, if you have been married before: Divorce decree,
if you are a widow or widower: Death certificate;
if you intend to enter into an ante-nuptial contract this must be concluded prior to the day
of the wedding.
If you are not South Africa, certified copies of your passport picture page and visa page (the
marriage officer is also a Commissioner of Oaths and will be able to certify your copies)

6 to 4 months in advance

Bride and Groom wedding attire and accessories
Bride maids’ dresses and suits for groomsmen
Buy your ring pillow
Videographer and photographer (if not already planned)
Menu and beverages – make an appointment with Patrick Bischoff, Executive Chef at ASARA
Order your Wedding Cake at ASARA Wine Estate & Hotel
Source Decor for reception venue and ceremony – ask ASARA for recommendations
Musicians or DJ at ceremony and/or reception – ask ASARA for recommendations
Meet your favourite Florist
Get your wedding ring
7 31/09

3 to 1 month in advance

Visit dance classes
Organise Gift Registry
Hair and Make-up Artists - make rotational appointment
May be visiting a tanning salon
Stationery - invites, menus, table seating plan, order of service
Guest book
Honeymoon planning incl. getting your papers, booking hotels and flights, immunization
Give the Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Try on your brides dress; see if it needs to get resized
Book or confirm the accommodations at ASARA for out-of-town guests

Wedding day schedule

Ceremony rehearsal
Transport of elderly guests to the wedding
Setting up of reception room on the day
Ceremony readings
Picking up of Suits, Wedding Dress and Bridesmaids outfits
Introductions, order of events, toasts, first dance, bouquet toss, etc.
Gifts for bride maids and parents

After the event

Have a wonderful private breakfast at ASARA Wine Estate & Hotel with your guests
Thank notes or videos / photos for the guests