Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox

Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox
Stepping into Summer with Maaji and Colourbox

Swimwear and active wear is always a challenging conversation with self. I always have the question of, “do I want a full piece”(which in my head probably looks better) or “Shall I get a bikini”(that I love wearing more) but that can leave me feeling slightly more self-conscious. Will the pants split when I do yoga or is the fabric thick enough to not perish.

I’m always on the hunt for the ultimate swimwear/activewear destination and thanks to Colourbox I have found the perfect fit. Not only is the shopping experience unparalleled with the fitting experience and attention to detail but it is also the ultimate luxury resort wear destination which includes amazing brands such as Moses sandals, Mr Boho Sunglasses and Maaji swimwear and active wear. Bringing you the latest and greatest from top international and local lifestyle brands, Colourbox is your one-stop fashion and lifestyle destination. Since inception, it has been the express mission of Colourbox to source only the most colourful, comfortable and above all, unique items that not only look and feel fabulous, but also enhance the vibrant and free-spirited energy of today’s discerning fashion-lover.

With my shopping hat on, I decided to try both the bikini and the full piece costumes. Did I mention that both are fully reversible? With bright and beautiful patterns and a unique style in shape on all tops you are bound to find the perfect fit for your body that leaves you feeling secure, comfortable and beautiful. It’s always in the detail right down to the way the bottoms don’t cut into your skin due to the double lining and stitching. A more comfortable swimwear line I have yet to discover. The sizing guide and online shopping experience is smooth and easy but if not you can always visit one of their stores. Just make sure you are aware that you will probably blow your budget! 

Mr Boho is a fun and fresh Italian sunglasses range that has an exciting summer collection that includes colour rimmed glasses. To be honest whilst trying them on; I had a flash of seeing myself in a cobble stoned courtyard eating gelato in Italy. Perhaps colourbox is not only the ultimate resort wear luxury range but also the ultimate inspiration to get that ticket out of here. The thing I loved the most about the range is that they are the type of sunglasses that look good on almost everyone! 

Every good holiday in my mind has some fun activities. Be it yoga or hiking you are going to need the attire and again, Colourbox to the rescue. From sports bras to leggings they have something for everyone. I love that the leggings are high waisted making me feel like I can go securely into any yoga pose without fear of revealing a little too much. The patterns are bold and beautiful which are representative of the brands origin in Brazil. 

They say these boots are made for walking but they haven’t heard of Moses sandals. With a vanilla smell and a wide range of colours these babies are my official favourite shoe and if the shoe fits, buy it in every colour. Which is the plan. They are so comfortable that I wore them every day in Bali and they haven’t left my feet since. I think I might have developed attachment issues to them. If you don’t have a pair then you are missing out and yes, they are the best Christmas present you will find either for yourself or a loved one! They come from Israel which again leaves me thinking of walking the old city of Jerusalem eating baklava in the Arab quarter and putting my wish in the western wall. 

So thank you to colourbox. Not only do I have the best arsenal for any holiday destination but I also have the wildest wanderlust a girl can think of. Visit their site and get shopping. I’m sure they will inspire you to do the same!

-Melissa


DJI - Now anyone can fly!

DJI magic air
DJI magic air
DJI magic air
DJI magic air
DJI mavic air
DJI magic air
DJI mavic air
DJI mavic air

I’ve always had slight envy for all the amazing drone shots that I have seen across Instagram. DJI drones have been something on my list for the longest time. The problem is, when is the right time to drop a large amount of money on a second camera that you are going to hover hundreds of metres in the air? The truth? There is never going to be a right time. Then why get one? Because life will never be the same again. And as a creative it’s one of the most exciting ways to flip your view on its head.

My right time happened to be shopping online at Outdoorphoto. They are the Tomorrowland of camera equipment with amazing prices and an even bigger range than you could imagine. The only criticism I have is a personal one; I don’t have a trust fund to really fulfil my wish list with them.

Trust me… It’s big.

The DJI Mavic Air is the latest addition to the DJI drone collection. It’s smaller than the pro and in my opinion better than the Spark in terms of durability and image quality. So it’s the perfect pocket size accessory for anyone looking to take amazing images and video. The drone is as big as a small shoe and weighs in at an astounding 570g.

I opted for the Fly More Combo because well, I wanted to fly more. It comes with two additional batteries and extra propellers in case you have a little accident as well as propeller protectors and all the chargers and cables you will need. Basically, it’s a full kit to go out and kick some major drone butt.

The thing I was the most excited about is not only is it small making it perfect for me as a woman, but it has a three-way axis gimbal and a built-in camera that shoots 4K video and 12-megapixel stills.

It can take 32-megapixel panoramas of your chosen landscape (rice terraces, beaches, mountains, an evacuation) and packs a major punch!

The drone has several shooting options from sphere 360, panoramic QuickShots to, the major exciting one, ActiveTrack. Now I just need a fast car and major skills to shoot myself living the high life like all the major YouTubers out there.

With sensors on the front and back and warnings that go off like a jailbreak should you go too close to a solid object (or the battery starts running dangerously low), the Mavic Air is designed for everyone and anyone. It’s very easy to learn to fly and with a Beginner Mode, you can’t go wrong. Its next to impossible to crash.

(Side note - always make sure the firmware is updated along with the remote. This is done by setting up and connecting the remote to the drone. You definitely don’t ever want to fly with outdated firmware… otherwise, you very well might be calling Mayday.)

So – my final thoughts on the Mavic Air?

Well… after having written this article praising this little bug’s awesome capabilities; it just so happened that I was caught in the earthquake in Indonesia on a small little island 4km off the mainland of Lombok (the epicentre) called Gili Trawangan.

DJI mavic air

I was able to capture the most dramatic images of my career thanks to the Mavic Air.

In the maelstrom of people jostling and fighting to board rescue boats during the hair-raising evacuation; I put on a brave face and launched my Mavic Air in an effort to capture the desperation of the unfolding situation on the ground.

The result? You decide for yourself.

It was my first image ever to go viral and it was quickly picked up by international newsagents, Reuters, and the footage and images were broadcast around the world on various outlets; CNN, Sky, BBC.

DJI mavic air

For a photographer and content creator – perhaps one of the biggest moments of my career that could have just as easily gone undocumented.

Even though my very valuable but cumbersome gear bag was subsequently stolen and I lost the majority of my camera equipment during the evacuation due to the chaos on the beach – It was somehow the consolation of the century that I had my lightweight Mavic Air over my shoulder ready to launch and she was not lost with the rest of my gear. (Another consolation is that I never travel without insurance.)

She performed beyond my wildest expectations.

So for anyone serious about photography who is on the fence about whether purchasing a drone is excessive or a necessity – all I can say is the opportunities for pushing the limits of creativity and documenting experiences in such an exceptional perspective might only present themselves a handful of times in life.

I, for one, won’t ever travel without mine again.

-Melissa 

Gili Trawangan Earthquake and Evacuation - my experience

I keep playing it over in my head. Every little moment leading up to, during and after. 

It still feels surreal. That it happened. We were in an earthquake and we survived. The crazy thing is the amount of guilt I feel around it. Almost that I’m not allowed to feel sad, scared or that I have some form of PTSD because the people of North Lombok are in crisis. A natural disaster is one thing. They have been hit by several earthquakes rocking that island to its core. Villages are out of reach and in desperate need of medical attention. People are dying outside of hospitals and have been stranded without water and food. So please more than praying, donate. I am sharing some links below and google is an amazing place to start. Every cent helps. 

I wanted to share our story. Not only to share a few facts but to also get the thoughts out of my head. To help with processing the most fearful event of my life. 

On the afternoon of August 5th, we went snorkelling on Neighbouring island Gili Meno. The wind had picked up and we decided that it was time to head home. We watched the sunset on the western side of Gili Trawangan and decided rather than heading home to shower we would grab a bite to eat then turn in. My partner and I both feel that this was a critical decision which resulted in keeping us safe. Why? Because we decided to eat at Pituq warung a local eatery situated in the middle of the island constructed from traditional island materials, bamboo and wood. 
No concrete or tall buildings surrounded us. 

Waiting for our dessert;  the earthquake hit. 
It struck on the western side of Lombok. The same side as the Gili Islands. 
I just grabbed Lauren’s arm as she looked at me and exhaled earthquake. The quake lasted for what seemed like a minute building into a crescendo of smashing glasses and panic. the lights flickered and then suddenly, darkness swallowed us.
Within seconds we were surrounded by screaming. 
From all angles of the island. 
The owners of Pituq came to check on us and instantly I called my mom in South Africa. I told her not to panic and that I was safe but I needed to know about a tsunami warning. I also called my close friend, Kyle Mijlof who kept me updated with news across his channels. (He is the smartest guy I know and is the guy who knows what to do when you need to know something fast. like whether the earthquake you just experienced comes with Tsunami in tow)
A warning had been issued.  People were told to move away from the beaches and to higher ground if possible.
The one (and only) hill on Gili T sits at 30m above sea level. Hardly higher ground. The island is 3km long and 2 km wide. 
All you could hear in the darkness was the sound of hysterical people screaming to "head for the hill" and "the tsunami is coming".
We decided that joining the mayhem and running through the narrow island lanes past walls and concrete structures was not the answer and instead stayed with the locals at the warung who cautioned that the hill had many snakes and if there was indeed a tsunami the hill would not suffice anyway. It was as safe as it was going to get.

We then decided to head to an open field just outside the warung. A place where nothing could fall on us should the aftershocks cause additional damage. As we were leaving the warung, an aftershock hit. The ground turned to jelly and all that I knew wasn’t my reality. The ground shouldn’t feel like water. Unstable and unsure of itself.
An electricity pole came crashing down just down one of the alleyways next to the warung.

We ran to the middle of the field grabbing water and a light. Surrounded by pitch black darkness we decided to sit tight and wait it out. 
After an hour of waiting and feeling several additional aftershocks beneath us, we realized we had to try to make our way back to the accommodation. It’s unbelievable how you can lose track of all orientation in that darkness and even though we were so sure that we knew where we were going - we got lost.  We were found by a local on a bicycle and managed to tell him where we lived. He cycled us to the open football field in the interior where we found hundreds of locals on the field crying and praying.  A man came to us, gave us water and told us that we needed to get our passports, important documents and return to the field to sleep in the open away from all buildings, walls and structures.

We rushed to our guest house, where we discovered that the roof had fallen in. The deep fear of entering a building after witnessing the liquidity of concrete in the face of an earthquake is something I can’t explain. We rushed in and grabbed warm clothes and passports. Once safely out we made our way to the football field. We lay down in the middle of it surrounded by groups of people chanting prayers. 

This. Is. Really. Happening. 

We spent the night surrounded by people screaming for doctors to help those in need. People that buildings had collapsed on, people trapped under rubble, children crying and women wailing. We did not sleep. 

With sunrise came the decision to head back to the guest house,  pack up all of our belongings and head to the beach and find the first boat out of the island. Whilst packing up we felt another powerful shudder. Nerves on edge we managed to get out and joined throngs of locals carrying their belongings to the beach to try and get transport over to their families on Lombok.

Then it really hit. With sunrise, the reality of the situation could no longer be concealed. Seeing how the small island of Gili T had been ripped apart at the seams was surreal. Glass had exploded out of shop fronts, double stories had collapsed, walls were reduced to rubble and the magnificent white mosque had crumbled. People were flocking and heading toward the boats. 
The en masse exodus of Gili Trawangan was underway.
On the beachfront, we stumbled on a makeshift hospital giving critical medical care to the injured while waiting for them to be airlifted out of the chaos.
It could have been us. But it wasn’t. So we had to focus on how to get off. 

The locals were in a panic and rightfully so. Their families were on Lombok at the epicentre of the quake and many of them had lost loved ones. They needed to get home. 
When the first of the fast boats arrived, people swarmed the boats with all that they had. Locals and tourists alike; but the most surprising thing to see was how many tourists couldn’t deal with the lack of preferential treatment. Somehow expecting to get some sort of allowance for survival due to their holidaymaker status. 
It saddened me to see some (westerners) screaming at locals as if somehow they deserved rescue or survival more than them. I've always thought that Hollywood demonised humans in the way that they are painted as losing humanity or any sense of a moral compass in extenuating circumstances, but I now know that this is indeed a reality at least where some folks are concerned. People resorted to looting shops. Punching each other to get ahead and pulling others off of the boats in order to get on themselves.

Most of the day was spent trying to find water as all of the shops were closed and the electricity and water supply was cut. A large portion of time was spent trying to find out information on what was actually happening with the evacuation. 
We soon realized it wasn’t going to happen. So many people wanted off and there simply weren’t enough boats. 

I decided to take to the streets with my camera to try and make sense of the chaos and also made the decision to fly my drone in an effort to capture the situation from a bird's eye view. 
I wanted to try and somehow capture the desperation to get off this small island which could only really be achieved from a distance. 

By late afternoon 3 big vessels arrived on the horizon. Hope. The only problem?  They couldn’t get to us. We had to wait for a smaller boat that would ferry us over to them and it wasn’t anywhere in sight. 
The very small pier that once existed on Gili T had been reduced to a handful of pillars reaching up out to nowhere in the ocean.

We decided to offer our help and ended up preparing food for hungry souls who hadn’t eaten since the previous night's events. One of the local restaurants, The Irish opened their kitchen and Lauren and I managed to get stuck in. Preparing all the food we could find at the instruction of the manager - we emptied out their stores. 
After cooking everything we could find and distributing it soup kitchen style with the help of Irish staff, we managed to eat a small bowl of food to accompany our day's haul consisting of a packet of Oreos before we made our way back to the beach. The sun had set and it was now dark again.

Where were we going to sleep? We had made peace that we weren’t getting off the island and that we were going to have to spend another night on it. Debating whether we were going to sleep on the hill, the field or the beach we walked back to our bags on the beach. We saw a small ferry boat that was running, loading people in the dark taking them onto the larger ferries further out to sea. That was it. 
We ran, grabbed our things and headed towards the swarms of people pushing towards the boat. With a bit of patience and persistence, we managed to get on after 5 hours of pushing and shoving. 

We had made it. We were on our way to the slow ferry that would take us back to Bali. As we got on the ferry another shudder hit. A 5.0 earthquake had struck again. This time 2km offshore from the Gili islands. Friends of ours that were still on the island recalled the screams and hysteria that followed the quake at 11h50pm.
To say we were deeply grateful we had escaped is an understatement. 

We managed to find a spot on the floor of the ferry. Our bed for the next 8 hours. After 36 hours of no sleep and pure adrenaline, we were shattered. We tossed and turned in rough seas. Just praying for it to be over. 

We arrived the next morning back in Bali.  
Tired, emotional and ready to collapse. 
We made sure we had something to eat, a hot shower and a good nights sleep. 

I think that’s why I have this over whelming sense of guilt. I got to do that. Shower, eat and sleep. In a clean warm bed on the other side of Bali in Canggu. Safe. Traumatized but safe. 
Every loud sound or rattle sends me into a panic. It’s so wild. 

I just can’t get the people of north Lombok out of my mind. They have been dealing with the aftermath of numerous earthquakes in the region for the past 2 weeks and are deeper in crisis than I could ever imagine.

So please. If you have made it to the end of my post. Donate. Share the information and ask everyone to step in. It’s our duty when others fall down to lift them up because it could so easily be the other way around. You too could be eating dinner when it happens or lose a loved one to an event like this. There is no discrimination. 

Thank you to all the news channels who shared my images.
I am so grateful that I could share this story with the world through the pictures that I took. They say more than I ever could.

The majority of the damage is in Lombok and Lombok regions. Not Bali. So if you plan on visiting do your research before cancelling or changing your trip 

https://www.gofundme.com/earthquake-relief-for-lombok

https://reliefweb.int/report/indonesia/red-cross-action-after-deadly-quake-rocks-lombok

-Melissa 

A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus

A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
https://twitter.com/trufflejournal
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus
A weekend of luxury at The Marine, Hermanus

Situated on the cliff edge overlooking the glorious Atlantic ocean, The Marine is one of the most spectacular luxury hotels I have ever stayed at. Part of the Mcgrath Collection this establishment overlooks Walker Bay and is the ultimate Whale watching location in Hermanus. I can now safely say first hand that The Collection holds three world-class hotels. 

Hermanus is an old fisherman's village which has become one of the most popular whale watching towns in the Western Cape.  A two-hour drive from Cape Town, The Marine is a getaway that will offer you all that you need. 

With uninterrupted sea views, the hotel boasts many sea facing rooms - which is a must if you are visiting!
The hotel dates back to 1902 and is steeped in history which can be found around every corner. Once placed in Liz McGrath's hands the grand lady was refurbished and brought into the 21st Century while honouring the hotel's unique heritage in 1998. 

The rooms are the ultimate luxury with calming colours and crisp white sheets. We stayed in the Princess suite that left me utterly speechless. A double volume room with a walk-in closet and lounge area that overlooks the ocean. The attention to detail comes right down to the coffee machine and handwritten welcome note. To be honest it is the first room I have stayed in where I didn't even want to go down for dinner but rather have room service instead. 

Speaking of room service; let’s talk about the food - which, granted, can be challenging with a mouth full of delicious starters or mains or dessert. Once a feast has kicked off, it is difficult to stop. I have had the privilege of visiting all three hotels that comprise the Liz Mcgrath Collection and I can easily say (excluding The Green House which is in a league of its own) that Origins at The Marine is my favourite. The food is just simply YUM. Bistro style and nothing complicated - Simple, beautiful cuisine. The flavours are perfect and each meal left me wanting more! There is something to be said for simple food done really well. It's my second time visiting and I will return again regardless of where I stay in Hermanus. If you are doing the same - be sure to book and try the bouillabaisse and the apple tart for dessert. 

With an on-site Spa, you might find it hard to leave the hotel. Don't worry, there is no judgement here because the same might or might not have happened to me. Book in advance and get your relaxation in with a full body massage or why not take some time out to detox in the steam room. No matter which treatment you choose you are sure to feel pampered and spoiled. 

Whether you find yourself in town over whale season or not,  be sure to  take a walk down the cliff path and get lost in the beauty that is Hermanus and its ocean views. You will find dassies bouncing around that will certainlyput a smile on your face! 

 

Staying at Holden Manz wine estate

Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
IMG_2665.jpg
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
IMG_2676.jpg
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate
Staying at Holden Manz wine estate

Just over an hours drive out of Cape Town tucked away at the foot of the Franschhoek mountains you will find the peaceful and beautiful Holden Manz. A small estate with vineyards that surround you. The estate might be small but you won't run out of activities and you are sure to leave relaxed and longing for more. 

The guest house is eclectic and decorated with an impressive art collection that you could get totally lost in. I have yet to see such an extensive variety in a personal collection. With many local artists, I found myself with wine in hand meandering from one piece to the next. 

The rooms are spacious and have an old charm to them. With king size beds and fluffy duvets getting up in the morning wasn't particularly easy! I could have slept in for days. The bathrooms are spacious with double basins and of course a huge tempting bath that I couldn't enjoy with the drought! 

With a perfect nights sleep in the bag, you could make your way to the spa and get engulfed in the ultimate luxury. The spa offers all treatments and prides themselves on supporting amazing natural local brands. I tried out the full body massage as I always do and it was so much of yes! Be sure to book if you visit!  

Post bliss visit the restaurant where the art takes shape in the gorgeous plates from the kitchen. Each plate has been well thought out and the food is almost too pretty to eat! Almost. If you find yourself there then the duck didn't disappoint and neither did their wines. My favourite? The Chenin Blanc of course! 

After lunch, I made my way down to the river and enjoyed a walk around the estate. With towering trees and surrounding mountains, you can't help but exhale. Which is never a bad thing. Breathing in the fresh country air can only be food for the soul! 

The staff are always on hand with a friendly smile and will attend to any of your needs. If you feel like exploring, the main town of Franschhoek is five minutes away. Strolling through the village is always fun if you want to venture out. Be sure to try the beer and wine tasting as well as any of the amazing restaurants. If not you will always have a home away from home at Holden Manz. 

-Melissa