A Botha style Christmas

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas day and have been embracing Boxing day activities such as eating leftovers and generally being quite lazy. I thought I'd share some of pictures of my family's Christmas rituals, as what I've come to love about Christmas is the role of tradition. And in my family, Christmas is marked by two things - our quirky spin on tradition and our love for one another.


When it comes to traditions in my home, Christmas time is marked with the simmering smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, mixed fruit and brandy in my Grandmother's Christmas cakes, which permeate throughout our home. Memories of my deceased grandmother, RenĂ©, are remembered as we all join together in making mince pies from her secret pastry recipe. My personal highlight of Christmas is coming together to decorate our 'slightly' off beat Christmas tree. 

This is our tree before the decorations. The branch comes from a Pine Tree, so thats still a little traditional. While my sister and I were young, my mother humored us with the traditional evergreen pine tree. But in recent years, my mother loves to go scouting for a dead branch at the side of the road to spray paint and transform it into a Christmas tree. Our tree has now come to be known as an 'African Christmas tree' as we also decorate the tree with beaded Christmas ornaments and baubles. This quirky tradition of ours has become something I really treasure about my family. 

Decorating the tree -

The Kerouac cat is always within sight

More than the presents, food and our mad Christmas tree - the greatest part of Christmas is my family. We all live for one another and Christmas is just one of those holidays that seems to revolve around the family. That has to be my most favourite tradition of a Botha Christmas. 

Stripey dresses and Kitty Cats

Happy Holidays dear readers!
I hope this finds you celebrating the festive season with tinsel, mince pies and family ties! As a South African girl, we have very warm Christmasses, something which shocks many of my friends from overseas. Our idea of Christmas is a day spent outside in the sunshine with friends, braaing and enjoying multiple dips into the swimming pool. Bliss! Anyway, as a result of our very warm weather at this time of year, a good summer dress is essential. This one, part of the New York based label Twist available exclusively from Woolworths, is just that - cool, stylish and soft to the touch. Paired with my three other obsessions - black wedges, my Keep Calm and Carry On necklace and my much loved black jacket, all make for a very 'cool' outfit. 

This picture is the inspiration for the title of the blog as instead of just the
 Kerouac Cat in the shot, our Siamese cat Tia, also made her presence known. 

Outfit: Dress - Twist, Wedges - Edgars, Jacket - Bombshell at YDE, Necklace - Rozanne and Pushkin 

As my family prepares for Christmas, I plan on blogging around the typical South African Christmas, so fingers crossed there will be more posts in the next few days!

Much love to you all over the festive period!

Keep Calm and Carry on


Despite having been home from England almost a month, I still find myself inspired by my time there and all that I saw and did. One thing which I loved was the 'Keep Calm and Carry on' trend which in England emblazons everything from posters to cards to mugs to t-shirts. For my South African readers not yet familiar with this pop-culture phenomenon, the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster (pictured on the left) was one of three posters designed to increase British morale during the second world war. The First two posters (pictured below) 'Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will bring us Victory' and 'Freedom is in peril' were plastered across billboards, shops and railway platforms all to stiffen public resolve. But for the majority of British citizens in 1939, the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster was never seen as it was held back for a real crisis; invasion of Britain by Germany. 

For 60 years the now famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On', poster remained forgotten, until 2000 when book store owner Stuart Manley found an original poster hidden in a box of books bought on auction. The store owners had it framed, but due to popular demand, began selling copies of the poster. The discovery of this poster has led to the widespread commercialisation of the poster and as my trip to England showed, this motto is well and truly everywhere. I even dragged myself across the High Street of Lincoln looking for a copy. 

But my inner sociologist has to ask, why is this saying as popular as it is? What is it about these words which have an encouraged such a widespread and fashionable trend? Is it just another example of the British stiff upper lip? Or is there more to it? At this point my love of fashion intersects with my love of sociology, causing me to ask why popular culture has a history of commercializing figures and artworks, essentially taking away their original meaning and intent. The classic example of this would be Che Guevara, the symbol of Communist revolution in Cuba, who today has become the face of Capitalism in being used to sell everything from posters, handbags,t-shirts, and even Vodka. So then, is the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' trend another example of mass commercialisation with very little meaning behind it? Or is it part of the zeitgeist of the times?

Double Decker bus in flames during the London Riots.
With the recent London riots, I can understand how this message of quiet reassurance  and authority, has come to the fore. Perhaps the situation in London this year in August, mirrored the simliar feelings of fear, violence, destruction by an enemy that Londoners felt during World War Two. Except more worryingly, the enemy was within. So the mantra of 'Keep Calm and Carry On' has become a unifier, a message that brings together people through common values and a common purpose. It is also about the resilience that also comes from within. 

So, as you can see I am very inspired by this motto and my obsession was sealed with my finding a necklace (below) with this saying at Rozanne & Pushkin earlier this week. I think it's safe to say that this has now become my own personal mantra. 

Outfit - Skinny jeans - Country Road, Vest - Edgars, Scarf - Accessorize, Wedges - Edgars


Nights in white satin and lace - At the opening of Jenni Button Couture in Sandton City

With the opening of the new wing of Sandton City, the last month has been a buzz with the openings of many new stores such as Zara, Vertigo and Country Road in the wing, and last night was no exception with the opening of Jenni Button Couture. Jenni Button has long been recognised as one of the leading designer fashion brands and the opening of a store devoted solely to couture signals a new pinnacle in the world of retail South African fashion. 

The invitation to such a select event was provided by Jenni Button Design Coordinator and friend, Tasmin Dolbey, who along with Warrick Gautier, Creative Director and head designer for Jenni Button, organised an outstanding evening of beautiful clothes, champagne and sushi. An array of lovely models, fashion editors such as Jenny Andrew, bloggers such as the  of The Quirky Stylista, and some good friends all made for great conversation and a definite event to remember for this little blogger! 

Have a look at the elegant creations and the beautiful people - 

Designers Liz and Tasmin (centre)
Myself and Jenna
Jenna and Tasmin

The ever so cool  of A Quirky Stylista
Beautiful clutch bag belonging to gorgeous model, Precious.

Tasmin and Ryan

Forever Young

Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of a Sunday morning listening to Led Zeppelin, a favourite wide brimmed hat reminiscent of the 1970's and a guitar. The 1970's was my parent's generation and as is such, music by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Eagles, and Led Zeppelin is as much a part of my own musical appreciation as it is theirs. But more than the music, it is the attitudes and ideas of the 1970's which has inspired me. Watching a film like Almost Famous,it is impossible not to long for the levels of expression, vibrance, chaos, genius and freedom that this decade known for. And while I am very much a modern day girl with her feet firmly in 2011, the romance, eclecticism and freedom of the 1970's collides with my own longing to escape the current period of my life which demands grown up decisions and it feels as though the big questions of life are hurtling at me. Perhaps then these photos are reflective of my not being quite ready to leave my carefree student days, and instead they reflect my desire to just pick up, escape, and to just free wheel for a little bit longer. 

Outfit details:
Blouse, jeans, Brogues - WoolworthsJacket - Bombshell at YDEHat - Accessorize


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