And now these three remain: faith, hope and love

Good evening, it appears I found both inspiration and the time after a frantic day to post. I'm still processing through the day's events which included an unbelievable day spent with God and in his presence. Apart from the incredible things he's doing in my life, I am so amazed at his amazing love for people and how readily he wants to impart his love and gifts upon them. There's so much I want to write and say about today but I think I still need to let things settle and work themselves through. 

The outfit post of the day is somewhat of a miracle in itself as I'm a) photographed wearing jeans and b) they're straight legs....I'm somewhat horrified and amazed that I can wear them as at just over 5'2 and being 'blessed' with curves, these pants are not what I'd call my style. But amazingly they are and despite having to work them with a longer top and heels, they suit my body and my shape, making me feel really good about myself. They're also inspiring as they open a whole new range of outfit possibilities. The blouse is a favourite of mine and something really unique and special. I bought it while on holiday in January at a tiny boutique in a seaside town called Plettenberg Bay. It's truly one of a kind and it's a go to in my cupboard when I feel like being a little outrageous. The necklace is the rabbit one from last night's post, which I adore. And the shoes are my lovely Steve Maddens which I've spoken about before. 

Loving wearing the heels :)

I love how the background and the texture of the lettering all enhance these photographs. I guess it helps living in such an inspiring house when it comes to outfit posts! These words are visual encouragements for my family and I love that they're given prominence in our home. The only word that's missing is 'Faith' and that's something especially close to my heart and life right now....

I am feeling the itch to write another lengthier article and I have a few ideas around what to say but I'm waiting for the right time and for the right words. I am aware that I present a silly side to who I am such as last night's post where I spoke about bunnies and Hello Kitty. Don't get me wrong, that is very much a part of who I am. But it's just one aspect and as I journey with this blog and my identity (which is area I'm starting to understand), I hope to use this space as a platform for other issues close to my heart. I hope that you all will continue to journey with me. Hearing encouraging feedback and seeing things in my life change as a result of writing and putting myself out there, all give me the courage to continue in this and to see where it goes. 

So thank you for being interested and for reading all that I have to say. This blog is helping me to find so much personal fulfillment and release.


Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.


I picked up this little necklace for R20 at Mr Price. I love that it's slightly gaudy and ridiculous but looks really great paired down with a white t-shirt and blazer. I guess I should explain that I love bunnies, like a lot. Generally soft and cuddly things are my favourite but bunnies are especially sweet. Out where I live, which is horse country, I often see wild hare and rabbits in the veld grass and I have to resist running after them, screaming "BUNNIEEEEE" in an attempt to scoop them into my car. So this necklace is as close as I will get to having my collection of bunny rabbits. Sigh...Look out for the necklace in one of my outfit posts.

On another note, sometimes when you put mention something, you start to notice it everywhere. Take last week Friday's post about some funny habits and guilty pleasures of mine, where I mentioned my love of Hello Kitty. Coming back home tonight, I realised that in the last week my collection has accidentally grown by two and there appears to be a shrine to Hello Kitty growing on my bedside table...Whooops! 

I hope to put something a little more substantial up this weekend if I can find the time and the inspiration. Given how much I love blogging and how much freedom and happiness it gives me, I'm sure I'll pull something together!


A sneaky midweek post!

Hello there, 
in my student induced procrastination, I have decided to blog instead of type an assignment. I may regret this later but today has been one of those days were working is a relative concept and blogging feels like more fun. Also I can't guarantee a post this weekend as from Thursday evening through to Saturday afternoon I'll be caught up with my mad lifegroup, work at Pleiades and some Holy Spirit workshops with my church. So chances are slim that I'll be able to blog about a cute shop I've been to or do something as cool as going to another fashion show. But, next weekend looks very promising with an invitation to blog about the opening of a Joburg branch of Mememe emporium in Parkhurst. Before my last trip to Cape Town in December, I had never heard about Mememe. But by chance, I stumbled into this sweet and quirky boutique on Long Street and was very impressed with the rails of candy coloured dresses and little tea pot necklaces, amongst other things. I do remember seeing some lovely black leather riding boots which would be most appropriate as Autumn sets in. Hmmm, perhaps a local branch of Mememe is even better than I originally thought....

To the outfit - I was feeling rather inspired this morning before I left for work and decided on wearing this white mesh Leigh Schubert dress with navy blue trimming and underskirt. Schubert is a South African designer and her designs can be found at The Space in Rosebank (my favourite shop) and at some Big Blue stores. My ankle boots have hardly left my feet since Saturday night and are an absolute win for my poor ankle. I love that it's slightly cooler (though today was 25ยบ Celsius) and that I can wear tights and light jackets like this blazer. Here's a confession, as much as I love our six month Summers, I love Autumn and being able to layer up. It's a more fun way of dressing than just wearing shorts or Summer dresses. Though I can't bear Winter that follows and would rather it went back to Summer. 

And now it's back to work... But one last thing, I love seeing the map of where my blog is being read. It' so amazing to think that this blog is being read in places as far away as Singapore and Indonesia, it makes me dream of travelling to these new places. So to you all around the world and those here in South Africa, I hope you do something special this week. 


Ballet Meets Betz

When I saw the invitation to Ballet meets Betz on Facebook, I was stunned that I was able to so easily access part of the fashion industry, never mind access one of my favourite local designers! South African fashion has long been a passion of mine and I can remember the first fashion show I went to at 17. I was transfixed by the beauty and creativity that each outfit exuded. Sitting there, it was like getting a small look into some private inaccessible world. It didn’t take long for me to R.S.V.P yes to the event and even less time for my mind to go into overdrive about what to wear, what to say and how I could pull it all together for my blog.

The few days leading up to Saturday night where spent in nervous excitement thinking on what dress to wear, the shoes, make up and hair and most importantly, what to expect.  Despite it raining all day, my mother and I weren’t put off, instead adjusted our outfits with coats and umbrellas and left for 40 Houghton Drive.

The pre-war home is surrounded by a large garden filled with candles, light and these ethereal models dressed in Betz’s candy coloured tulle and mesh creations. Walking up to the house, we were met with wine and cake on the patio.  Looking down into the garden the models looked like marble statues that despite the light rain maintained their poses.

The small gathering was made up of all sorts of fashion, media, PR people as well fans like myself. Walking around with my camera I was asked who I was with, in other words what publication. I wish! Instead I simply replied that I was a blogger who was interested in fashion, art and culture. There appears to be a halo effect with bloggers and this caused some excitement as people asked about my blog and what I wrote about.  I love the interest that there is in blogging, though I think the effectiveness and pulling power of bloggers here in South Africa, still remains to be seen.

The show soon started on the patio with four scenes interspersed with music to show both the Spring/Summer 2011 collection and the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. Taking pictures was tough with a slow flash and the quick movements of the models. Fashion photography is not easy and the right equipment is definitely necessary! Lucky for me, I don’t want to be a fashion photographer and my little SLR does what I need though I may invest in a proper flash if I go to more of these sorts of events. Speaking of photography, I met a really lovely guy last night who is a fashion photographer and did Betz’s photograph’s at fashion week. Johnny Lai Sang, has been in the industry for the last two to three years, and was more than happy to give me some tips for the industry. Check out his facebook page  and his website for some of his beautiful work!

I admit that I am biased, but both collections were beautiful and reflected the maturity of the designer as she moves into a more international sphere. With her showing in Paris in June, I was aware of how her aesthetic has matured and become more sophisticated while still maintaining her characteristic softness, femininity and whimsy.  The Spring/Summer collection was inspired by the ballet and featured soft pastel colours, sheer tulle skirts and soft flower headbands. The Autumn/Winter collection really showed how Betz has transformed into a more sophisticated look while still maintaining the essence of 1950’s whimsy. Featuring full-bodied skirts in exciting patterns, furs, feather headbands and silk brocade, this collection was far more structured in silhouette and style than the earlier collection. Looking at her wedding dress collection, I’ll admit to wishing that when I get married, it’d be in an Abigail Betz creation.

After the show, I had the opportunity to chat to the designer and hear about her plans for Paris in June. It’s thrilling to hear how South African fashion is becoming more recognised at an international sphere and that designers like Betz are invited to participate. Speaking to her, while her daughter, Lilly, hugged her legs, I was struck by how genuine and humble she was. I suppose you expect designers to be pretentious but Betz wasn’t as she thanked people individually for coming and supporting her.

I came home last night thrilled at the entire experience. In moving back home and starting this blog, I could never imagine being able to go to these events and meet really friendly people who’re interested in what I’m doing and who I am. Honestly, I felt so out of my element initially because I have so much respect for fashion and designers like Betz and events like this, but I am so aware that I have very little experience in this area. But after last night I have a better understanding of how to work it and I hope to have many more opportunities to write about and to attend things like this. Perhaps one day I’ll have a permanent pass into this private and inspiring world! 

See below for the pictures.

Slow shutter speed. The blur is the model and the movement of her
 long tulle skirt

With Abigail and her daughter Lilly. Lilly is wearing her own custom made dress. Lucky girl! 

Savoir faire flair...

Good morning my lovely readers, I hope this finds you as happy as I am! Last night, my mom and I went to Ballet meets Betz where we were able to preview Abigail Betz's Spring/Summer 2011 collection as well as her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. It was such a beautiful experience but more on that later! I've decided to split that into two posts else it's too many pictures and too big an article. 

These are photographs taken before we left. The theme was Savoir Faire Flair, which relates to the ability to say or do the right or graceful thing. So applying this to clothing, I interpreted this as something soft and feminine. Having long been a fan of Abigail Betz, her clothes are also very feminine, elegant, soft and ethereal. See her website for more from her. So what to wear with all of this in mind? Looking in my cupboard I decided on one of my favourite dresses, a champagne coloured Forever New dress, which is also soft, feminine and very special.

Getting ready, note the bow.
Vera Wang Princess perfume is definitely my fail safe perfume of choice
when making an effort. Yes, I do believe I'm a princess...

These amazing little ankle boots are new and are wonderful. Despite it being a year since I broke my ankle, I can't wear big high heels which is horrible. If I do, I suffer for days afterwards so I am careful about where and when I wear them. But with these boots, I get to wear a small heel so I feel slightly taller and a little sexier than I would in flats. Plus they give amazing support so I don't suffer the next day.
I am an ankle boot convert! 

The bracelet is so precious to me as it was a 21st birthday gift that was handmade and made with me and my personality in mind. It's soft, romantic, eclectic and unique

Though you can't see my boots, I felt like a little Victorian doll with
the dress, hair and boots.

It always amazes me how our cats love to get into the pictures. Last week, it was Munchkin and this week it's Termite.
Me and my mama. She's my fashion inspiration and the reason I have my clothing obsession.  She's wearing; a creme mesh skirt that she made, my Steve Madden heels (thanks Mum...), a vintage creme and gold lace top from Rags and Lace, a black military style jacket from Woolworths. And I can't forget to mention her evening bag from the Chinese market. 
Looking at the picture, I should mention that my dress needs to taken in since it's big on top, I blame my 'amazing' shrinking abilities!

Accessorised with my camera, a thick black coat and purple umbrella, we set off in the rain very unsure as what to expect.....

See Part Two, coming up later, to see photographs from the night and my account of what it's like to be a first time fashion blogger. 


10 Funny Habits & Guilty Pleasures....

Hi! So I know that a lot of people who read my blog know about it from my Facebook page. So I assume that you know a little about me. Apparently I also have readers in Hungary, China and Vietnam and I am very curious as to who they are. So for those of you who know me and those of you who don’t, I thought it would be quite fun to put together a blog post about some silly things I do and love with some pictures.

10. I am obsessed with Animal Planet and National Geographic. Don’t ask me how or why, but I have a ritual of watching animal rescue shows on the weekend, which make me laugh and cry hysterically. Everything from Animal Precinct in New York, to Wildlife SOS in Surrey to Last Chance Highway in Mississippi and the Dog Whisperer are fair game on the weekend. These shows and the good that people do with animals make me so happy and make my family sigh in exasperation.
9. I am ‘creatively messy’ in my bedroom but I keep my car meticulously clean. I don’t quite understand it but clutter in my car freaks me out. This being said I consider my car to be a little white handbag. The boot has had everything from flippers to a golden retriever to a kitten saving kit (long story- will be explained in future posts) packed in it.

8. I have a Blackberry but don’t have BBM. At first this was because I hadn’t upgraded my Internet package but now it’s a conscious decision.... I can’t handle my phone permanently beeping and making noises. Generally, my cellphone is largely ignored which makes me the worst person to get hold off.  
7. I have a coffee obsession. Sometimes I think there’s more coffee in my bloodstream than there is blood. And at  5’2, that’s a lot of coffee in such a concentrated and small volume. I’ll leave you to imagine the consequences...

6. I love rituals and treasure my weekends. When I’m not watching my animal shows, Sunday mornings normally include coffee in a French press with my mom while we catch up with one another. Definitely one of the best things about moving home.

5. Bad habit...I get lost a lot. It’s actually getting to the point where it happens quite frequently, mostly because I don’t know Joburg that well. But even that’s inexcusable since I manage to confuse Google maps.... The next big investment will not be in amazing vintage clothes but rather a GPS system that shouts at me when I take the wrong turn.... Maybe I can set it to a German accent so I’m scared of it as well? I’m desperate...

4. Crazy obsession.... Hello Kitty without a doubt. I started collecting pajamas and figurines when I was about 13. I remember going to the Oriental Plaza and seeing all the merchandise and debating what to get. Soon after however I got rid of a lot of my collection under the impression that teenagers don’t collect such things...5 years later and it started again, though somewhat tamer. At first it was a diamante Hello Kitty ring but the smaller collection now includes pajamas, t-shirts, plasters and a key ring for my car keys. An Asian friend once commented that I was the only white person she knew who loved Hello Kitty. I guess that’s my claim to fame...

3. While technically a student, I am the lightest of the lightweights when it comes to alcohol tolerance. Two drinks and I’m tipsy. This despite being at Rhodes for three years...

2. Bad habit... I wear reading glasses since I am slightly far sighted. But I seem to have the habit of forgetting my glasses at home or where I last put them (which I am ashamed to admit, sometimes includes the top of my head).  This along with my fondness of Gin and Tonics and the potential arthritis in my right ankle make me think I am well on my way to being an old lady.

Fringe, glasses, crazy lion hair...
Trying to find my glasses....
1. I consider myself not to be OCD at all, just super organized. I hate being late. I hate not having a plan. I hate being without my diary. And when travelling or missioning to get somewhere, all these characteristics are heightened by a 100 percent. Heaven help you if you get in my way or slow me down.... I have been known to hurry my mom and sister along the busy streets of Paris when we’re running to catch a train. Though at the end of my hassling, we all got there in time. And after my mom and sister had calmed down after their experience with Hurricane Sarah, we all had a great time. I guess it pays to be OCD after all....

So after that confessional I'd love to know some of your guilty pleasures and habits, just so I know that I'm not the only mad one! 

Just as a catch up, this week has been much the same; total exhaustion and madness. I am finally starting to settle down into a routine and being able to balance all the work as well as all the other things I'm balancing. The last two months have been a huge adjustment with a new university, honours and work. I have also started going to a new church so there's been a spiritual adjustment too. It's called Godfirst and it's right in the centre of Montecasino! I love that about it though and that says so much about the church and people; no judgement and dare I say it, they're normal? I went to my first lifegroup last night and chose one at random. As it is, it was the group is known for being loud and extra social. Perfect match for me! Last night was so great and I felt a deep connection and ease with the people. I just can't help marveling at God's perfect provision for everything that I need.

This is a shortish post just because I'm saving a big post for Sunday. On that note, I can't handle my excitement as tomorrow night I'm going to the Ballet meets Betz,the opening of the Abigail Betz House of Couture in Houghton. Abigail Betz is one of my favourite designers of all time and I am thrilled to be able to go and check out her 2011 collections, take pictures and blog about it. Hopefully I'll be able to send it to some of the fashion magazines like Marie Claire and start getting some exposure. Fashion blogging is still taking off in South Africa so there's a huge space for bloggers. 

Even without this blog, I'd still be thrilled to go. High Fashion excites me so much and I can still remember the first fashion show I went to (Habits by the way) and the thrill of being included in something so beautiful and inspiring, even if it was just to watch. 

So here's to what hopes to be an amazing weekend! I hope you all have a magical weekend as well!


P.S Please comment, I love to hear from people and what you all think! 

When this is really about that....

The title of this article comes from this book I’m reading, Sex God by Rob Bell. For those of you who know Rob Bell and the Velvet Elvis, I really encourage you to read Sex God. It’s really helping me to understand some things about myself that go to the core of being human. And for those of you who don’t know him and are interested, you should definitely look him and his writing up. When I first read the blurb and some of the chapter titles, I burst out laughing because at first glance the heading Leather, Whips, and Fruit seems inappropriate especially when thinking about God. As it is the book is pretty awesome.

So to the article and the purpose of this post; for those of you who read my post last week about Rags and Lace, you’ll remember that red vintage Pascual dress. From the moment I walked into the store and saw it, I instantly fell in love with it. One of the shop assistants even commented that this dress was the dress for me. As I tried it on, it fit perfectly. For some strange reason, I’ve lost a lot of weight without doing anything and am at the smallest I’ve ever been in my adult life. Weird but great. So a month or two months ago, this dress may not even have fit. The perfect fit, the perfect dress... Maybe it was made for me? Quite a funny concept when this dress is between 20 to 25 years old. One small problem, while at R1150 this dress was affordable for what it was, there was no way I could afford to buy it myself because I’m saving and honestly, I don’t have anything major coming up to justify buying the dress.

And this is when, something amazing happened and God used this dress to do some profound work in my life. As a disclaimer, I am not trying to preach to anyone nor do I see my blog as a ‘conversion’ platform. This blog is a space for me to share some of my life, which includes my faith as well as fashion, art and culture. And while I could write a generic piece about this dress and how to wear it and where to wear it, I wouldn’t be doing the story any justice if I did. So this (the not so little red dress) is really about that (healing, restoration and understanding).

The next day, I showed my father the pictures and the post I did. My relationship with my dad has always been a complicated one, and one that in the last three years has been especially tough. We haven’t been able to connect with each other because of all the hurt stemming from archery and that time of my life. My dad once commented that he was concerned about my obsession with my clothes and that I don’t have much else to focus on outside of them. This is one example of our painful miscommunication despite both of us desperately wanting to reconnect. So when I showed my Dad this blog, I wasn’t too sure if he’d understand or brush it off. As he looked through and saw this red dress, he said, “This is really beautiful Se. It’s a once in a lifetime dress. Do you want it?” As simple as that, he asked if he could buy it for me. Not only did he buy it for me. But more importantly, he got me.

The that, is a two fold understanding. As much as my father delighted in being able to give me this dress and it signifies a new chapter in our relationship, God used this as an opportunity for me to understand my relationship with him. I suppose I’ve been a Christian for about ten years but really in the last four I’ve been walking and pursuing God. But a lot of that time has been marked by doubt, confusion, fear and a habit of running away because of my feelings of inadequacy and mistakes and the inability to understand why God loves me. Much like when my dad asked if I wanted the dress, I felt so undeserving of something so beautiful, I have also felt that when it comes to God. I seemed to have missed something so foundational and that has affected me deeply and has allowed me to run away and to doubt.

And this is when I think God is so awesome when it comes to the ways in which he speaks. It’s not always through worship, or a message in church or in quiet times with him. Sometimes he speaks and blesses with a job, financial success or relationships, and sometimes he blesses you with something, which speaks straight into who you are. For me, that red dress is just that. My love of fashion and clothes has been with me since I was five years old when I used to cut up my mom’s Vogue magazines. It’s also been a source of shame because it’s easy to be seen as superficial and frivolous and lacking depth. But I am now in a place where I can embrace this part of who I am because I know that I have been created to appreciate beauty with all of my senses and clothes are just that, works of art. So this love goes deep right into the very core of who I am and who I was designed to be. This is intimacy with God. He knows how to speak so deeply, so personally and intimately, in the way that only he can. And when it’s that intimate of a relationship, it then makes sense that God speaks into the deepest part of who I am when he wants to heal me. It makes sense that he uses that dress as a metaphor for how much he delights in me and how much he wants to give me simply because I am his.

This understanding couldn’t have come at a better time as in the last month or so I’ve been going through a lot of personal pain, which could so easily have left me broken, angry and mistrustful of God and people. But I’m none of those despite hurting so much because through the pain, God has been so real, so close and so true. He’s brought me to a place where I understand this bible verse, “he delivered me, because he delighted in me" (Psalm 18:19). I finally understand how precious I am to him and finally understanding something so foundational has changed my thoughts about myself, God and my Dad.

I know that this may not be the typical fashion or even blog post and for some, this may have made you uncomfortable. But I can’t apologise for wanting to share this. It’s brought me so much joy and freedom. And maybe for some of you, it’s encouraging and if I can bless you the way that I have been blessed, that would make this whole experience worthwhile.  And maybe I seem superficial and some of you are thinking, “It’s just a dress.” But it’s more. The Physical thing – the dress – is actually about my relationship with God and understanding my identity, my future, my hopes and desires, his truth and how it shapes me. This is actually about that. 


P.S See below for the photographs. 

The Story of the Red Dress...

All photos courtesy of Rachel Botha who puts up with my demands for pictures....


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