Tag Archives: networking

KZN fun in the winter sun: Loeries 2018 and a night at the Oyster Box

Loeries 2018 is done and dusted but no need for FOMO: if you missed all the fun you can scroll through my pics below. This is a super bumper edition post as it also includes pics of our stay at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga last Sunday night. So make sure you have a hot drink at hand, your scrolling finger is ready and go, go, go!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018: Fly to Durban, lunch at the Versailles restaurant

Airport coffee and sunrise
Once I’d checked in at the airport on Wednesday morning I had time for a quick coffee and to snap the sunrise before meeting up with my colleague Angie for our flight to Durban. Good way to start the trip!
Versailles restaurant at the Blue Waters Hotel
Once we landed at King Shaka Airport, adjusted to the humidity and found our hire car, we made our way to the Blue Waters Hotel on the Snell Parade. After checking in, we had time for lunch in the hotel’s Versailles restaurant before sorting out some work in our room. See the lovely setting, as well as my berry-topped cheesecake and strawberry milkshake. Angie went for the fish and chips with veggies and said it was delicious.
Blue Waters room service.
We were so busy working in the evenings that we didn’t leave our room, alas. These are various snaps of room service meals we ordered over our stay at the Blue Waters. Those snack baskets are lovely, the chips are delicious, the hot chocolate has real chocolate melted into the pot and that club sandwich could easily feed two!

Thursday, 16 August 2018: Moderating the Women in Marketing: Africa masterclass

Loeries and Blue Waters Hotel.
We woke bright and early for our first big day on Thursday – see my ‘The future is female’ tee from Foschini, so fitting for the themes we covered on the day. Also see various stages of breakfast at the Versailles restaurant in the Blue Waters hotel, and the enormous tree guarding the Durban ICC, just five minutes from our hotel.
Women in Marketing Africa Masterclass at the Loeries
My Loeries fun kicked off with something different – I moderated the Women in Marketing: Africa launch masterclass. Click here for an overview of the topics discussed, if you missed it.
Robertson's spicecream at Loeries
Probably one of the most delicious moments of the Loeries – stopping on a swing to try the chocolate-chilli ‘spicecream’ by Robertsons.
Loeries at Durban ICC
More about Thursday. Luckily all the Loeries events are held at the Durban ICC, so once you’ve registered it’s pretty easy to find your way around. See the registration desk, where we were pleasantly surprised to be told we were VIPs for the week. Also see me with Loeries CEO Andrew Human, and the lovely Nkgabi Motsau of Think Creative Hub – I’ve interviewed her a few times over the phone and email, so it was wonderful to bump into each other. Also see Angie and me enjoying our ‘spicecreams’ on the Instagram ‘head in the clouds’ swings when the seminar was finally over.

Friday, 17 August 2018: DStv Seminar of Creativity and Loerie Awards night one

Durban sunrise
Stages of sunrise as seen from our room, and breakfast downstairs in the restaurant.
Loerie awards
A few of our Friday highlights – it was time for the DStv Seminar of Creativity, so we made sure to have a filling breakfast in the hotel before heading back to the Convention Centre (this is part two). It was ‘build-you-own-bunnychow for lunch – with authentic Durban curry, so these were fantastically hot. Also see the Convention Centre all lit up for the first awards show that night. We rushed back to our hotel room to change out of our casual outfits, then were ready for lights, camera, action!
Friday night Loeries Awards
A few more snaps from Friday night’s Loeries award ceremony at the Durban ICC. See me with Slo, who now works at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris. I met HER when I first covered the Loeries in Durban a good four years ago, and see Angie and me in all our Foschini finery.
Loeries 2018
Our posed snap from Gallo, on the red carpet with the Loeries and this year’s Wakanda-themed picture prettiers.
Loeries awards
The award nights flew by in a whizz as we were tweeting, posting to Instagram and making articles live as the nights went on. No wonder we were exhausted by the time we got back to our room!

Saturday, 18 August 2018: Brand SA VIP Brunch and Loerie Awards night two

Brand SA VIP brunch at California Dreaming
Saturday morning was the Brand South Africa VIP Brunch, held at California Dreaming on the beachfront. We were happy to sit and watch Durban life go by on the promenade beyond, while sipping away and munching on delicious snacks.
Networking at Brand SA VIP brunch at California Dreaming
After a strong cappuccino we were ready to fit in some networking, too!
Loeries red carpet
Saturday night version of the official Loeries red carpet team snap – this time in our own clothing with Foschini accessories (love that neckpiece!)
Saturday night Loeries red carpet
More from the Saturday night red carpet! See me with the big gold loerie, Angie and I at the logo wall and saying hi to Nkanyezi Masango of King James Group (they did really well on the night!)
Dogs on couch
Husband also kept me in the loop of how things were going back at home on Saturday. See the doglets snuggled together on the couch, cheersing his mom’s birthday, and breakfast with my parents. Also see Bassie, very interested in his dessert.

Sunday, 19 August 2018: A night at the Oyster Box Hotel

Cape Town Slow Lounge
Husband also sent me snaps of his early morning at the Cape Town airport, where he waited for his flight to join me for a night. See the Cape Town Slow Lounge, his Kulula flight and view from the window.
Loo with a View at Cape Town airport
Husband found the ‘loo with a view’ in the Cape Town Slow lounge hilarious!
Umhlanga roads.
Angie safely dropped off for her flight home and Husband collected for part two of my time in KZN, we hopped into an Uber and headed to Umhlanga. See some of the sights along the way.
Oysterbox Hotel
Ahh, the Oyster Box. We loved everything we saw when we first arrived, including resident kitty Skabenga who let me pet him as he napped on a couch.
Oysterbox reception area.
The main reception area is just gorgeous, with ornate red carpets, glass, mirrors and orchids everywhere you look.
High tea at the Oysterbox
If cakes are your thing, don’t miss high tea at the Oyster Box. We had a huge dinner to come so gave it a miss, but there’s also a slightly smaller ‘evening indulgence’ option if you have a spot of space left after those curries. We didn’t, sadly. Will have to return for it!
Room at the Oysterbox hotel
Our room was a pink, red and white delight. See the robes in the bathroom, the red-and-white lighthouse in walking distance and enticing private balcony.
Cheers at the Oysterbox
Cheers! We clinked drinks once we’d had time to unpack and get over the gorgeousness of the view from our balcony.
Umhlanga sea
It’s not a proper seaside stay if Husband hasn’t had a dip in the sea, so we trotted along the beach to the pier and of course he dunked himself in the Umhlanga waters – my first time on the KZN beachfront too, despite having arrived in Durban on the Wednesday! Note cute ‘sand brush’ for when returning from beach to hotel.
Vervet monkey at the Oysterbox
We even spotted a vervet monkey wandering the grounds!
Sunset at Oysterbox
Sunset from our balcony.
Movie theatre at the Oysterbox.
Don’t forget to explore the upstairs floor of the Oyster Box – we found the Clock Tower Room, host to a selection of toy soldiers, as well as the movie theatre stocked with sweets and soft blankets. Lots to do if the weather keeps you indoors!
Oysterbox ships.
A lovely nautical corner of the Oyster Box.
Curry buffet at the Oysterbox
That night, we sampled the curry buffet in the Ocean Terrace. Proper review of the curries to come on Biz, and see my very chocolatey shake – with striped paper straw, of course.
Oysterbox at night.
All the colours deepen at the Oyster Box at night. We were quite exhausted after dins and ready for bed.
Oysterbox swans and gowns
Wow, the Oyster Box room fairies went all out in our absence, decking the bed with towel swans, rose petals, chocolates and gowns. Here’s the resulting gown pic.
Bath at the Oysterbox.
To a Capetonian, this is absolute heaven due to water restrictions in the province. The staff had sprinked more rose petals all around the edge of the super-large tub, and even left us scented candles. Bliss!

Monday, 20 August 2018: The Oyster Box breakfast buffet and King Shaka Airport Slow Lounge

Breakfast at the Oysterbox.
The breakfast buffet spread is simply unbeatable. Look at all those cheeses, and you could eat oysters to your heart’s content! I think Husband stopped at 14.
Breakfast at the Oysterbox
Also see Husband’s Oysters Mornay bottom right, a selection of the cereals, the full breakfast menu and the pancake I topped with chocolate syrup, cream, banana slices and mini Astros. That’s how you do breakfast! And then…
Oysterbox spa
The spa at the Oyster Box is open to guests, so we headed straight there after breakfast to spend some quiet time digesting and erasing some of the past weeks’ stresses.
Steam room and plunge pool at Oysterbox
I can’t tell you how relaxing it was the spend the morning hopping between this jacuzzi-like plunge pool and the Turkish hammam steam room. We left feeling ten times better than when we arrived. Us waterbabies could have easily spent the day there!
Pool at the Oysterbox Hotel
We spent a little time at the main pool (there’s another close to the spa) before it was time to check out. I can see why this is a firm Umhlanga favourite!
Pool at the Oysterbox
More shots of the gorgeous pool. See how we both bravely got in (that’s me in the bottom left shot) – and what a wonderful spot it is, to take your morning coffee.
Slow Lounge at King Shaka Airport
We had enough time to spare before our flight to visit the Slow Lounge at King Shaka Airport – my first time. See the curry that made Husband’s eyes light up, the chocolate croissant and cappuccino that made me happy, and various other snacks.
KZN Slow Lounge at King Shaka Airport
Another snap of the Slow Lounge, and the British Airways plane that brought us home.

That’s all, folks! Hope my snaps did our whirlwind stay justice. We’ve both been a bit ill this past week, so it will probably be a quiet weekend on our side. Enjoy yours!

*Disclaimer: Our Loeries’ outfits and accessories were sponsored by Foschini, while meals and accommodation at the Oyster Box Hotel were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.

What to do in Franschhoek 2018: Stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux!

This past weekend we were in Franschhoek as you’ll see from the snaps below – it was so difficult to trim them down to these favourites!

If you’re heading that way, we definitely recommend stopping in at the Wijnland Auto Museum and Butterfly World, and explore the lovely lemony Franschhoek Country House (FCH) and Monneaux…

Wednesday, 16 May 2018: Sunset dins at Doodles on the beachfront

Sunset at Doodles
We had a sneaky mid-week dinner out at Doodles and were in awe at the sunset, as seen from various angles.

Friday, 18 May 2018: Meltwater #BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson

View from thePark Inn Radisson
I rarely get to attend events with colleagues, so it was a treat to spend part of last Friday morning with one of my favourite coworkers. Once we’d gone up 10 floors by lift at the Park Inn Radisson we stepped onto the balcony to admire the view, and what a view it was!
Meltwater BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson
More of the balcony views, also the delicious breakfast snacks and the excellent presentation itself on social storytelling – click here for my full overview if you missed it on Bizcommunity.
Park Inn Radisson
We had time for a quick post-event catch-up session with industry friends before heading back to the office.

Saturday, 19 May 2018: Stop at Wijnland Auto Museum, stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux

Dog thinks he's a cat
A sweet moment with Bertie boy before we started all our weekend activities. Love that dog!
Flapjacks at airport Wimpy
First stop – collect parents to drop off at the airport. Once they’d checked in for their flight to Joburg, we had time for a quick breakfast at the Wimpy with views of the runway. See various coffees and the flapjacks with cream and fruit salad.
Road trip snacks
Next, tim for our weekend away, and what’s a road trip without snacks? It was a cold, grey day so hot drinks were in order. This is a mochaccino and British ‘chocky bickies’ from when we dropped off the doglets at their GrannyGrampa for the night.
Car museum tank
We stopped in at the Wijnland Auto Museum (not the main Franschhoek Motor museum you’re thinking of). It’s filled with rusted relics and shiny new vehicles alike. Bonus: You don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time!
Grounded airplane
The grounded airplane was the main attraction for Husband – he’d seen it from the main road outside and we had to do a capital U-turn to go back and find the entrance. See how he climbed all the way through into the cockpit – you’re allowed to do so.
Autumn in Franschhoek
Autumnal scenes on the road into Franschhoek town.
Franschhoek win tram
You’re bound to see the wine tram when you’re in and around Franschhoek. We saw various versions of it in various locations on our way into town and even waved at the happy travelers from the pool later that evening. It’s still on our Franschhoek bucket list!
Franschhoek Literary Festival
It was the weekend of the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) so there were book-lovers around every drizzly corner and queues at all the eateries and markets, we felt quite lucky to be staying slightly out of the main hustle and bustle of town. Will tackle the FLF another time!
Lemons at Franschhoek Country House
Franschhoek Country House holds all the lemons and French country charm you could ever want. It’s like a painting.
Lemons at Franschhoek Country House
It’s hard to miss Franschhoek Country House from the Huguenot Main Road, just look for lemon with touches of turquoise and you’re there! There are lemons everywhere you look, from the trees to bowls in every room – even the restaurant powder room – it’s really a delicious sight.
Franschhoek Country House
The space we stayed in was just gorgeous. Look at those old-school high ceilings, the plentiful fruit bowl, and even the candlesticks next to the not-to-be-used bath tub.
Monneaux at Franschhoek Country House
The doorbell chimed and we were presented with the most wonderful welcome plate of food fresh from Monneaux, along with flutes of bubbly to ease into ‘weekend away’ mode. It certainly did the trick!
Fountains at Franschhoek Country House.
Fountains fountains everywhere. Note Husband examining them far off in the distance.
Pool at FCH
Despite the chill in the air we braved the cold pool, as that makes the slightly heated pool seem a little warmer than it is. Also see the poolside table with the most delicious lemonade, garnished with mint leaves and cucumber slices. So yum!
Happy hour at FCH
We’d been told it was ‘happy hour’ on selected beverages until 5pm – add in pretzels and salty peanuts, also the Royal Wedding on TV and we were there like bears.
Sunset at FCH
Sunset over the mountain from various angles, made even more delicious with a cup of coffee and rusk from our room.
Monneaux restaurant
M is for Monneaux! The on-site restaurant is definitely worth a visit, whether you’re staying at Franschhoek Country House or further up the road. See here the baked camembert salad, the spicy mussels and the lamb on gnocchi. All the words coming to my full review on Bizcommunity!
Monneaux meals
Cheers to dinner at Monneaux! Our table was strewn with white rose petals – we’d seen them being plucked while enjoying our swim earlier that evening. Also see the smoked octopus in dashi stock from the Petit Assiette menu, and the linefish mains topped with a prawn.
Wines at Monneaux at Franschhoek Country House
Don’t mind if I do take a sip or two… just some of the lovely wines we sampled while dining at Monneaux, all from the Franschhoek valley.
Desert at Monneaux
Dessert! See the sorbets with meringue discs; chef’s creme caramel with flecks of vanilla; a delicious cappuccino; the apple tart tatin with blue cheese compote; and the end-of-meal dense chocolate truffles.
Franschhoek Country House door hanger and fireplace
The little nighttime luxuries at Franschhoek Country House are so sweet. These range from the ‘I need some me time’ message on the door hanger to a tiny chocolate left on the pillow with the next day’s weather forecast; and slippers left at the turned-down bed. Of course, we also lit the fire and spent a while in front of its warmth – though there’s also underfloor heating, so you may well find yourself sitting on the floor (out of choice)!
Gown photos
This is the selection of ‘gownie shots’ I have to work with. Not easy to come by as gowns are only available by special request from reception, and by the time we took the snaps Husband was done with posing nicely and smiling on demand. Lol!

Sunday, 20 May 2018: FCH breakfast buffet; visit the animals at Butterfly World

Coffee at FCH
Taking in that ‘just been rained on’ view with a quick coffee brewed in the room before heading down for breakfast.
Breakfast at Franschhoek Country House
What a breakfast spread! See various cold meats and cheeses, freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, and cereals – I couldn’t resist a scoop of the bright pink Strawberry Pops!
Hot breakfast at Franschhoek Country House
From the hot breakfast menu, we opted for filter coffee and the waffle with bananas, bacon and berries (me); and glasses of juice with the eggs benedict, topped with both spinach and folded ham (husband). Also, look at the tiny bite-size croissant!
Franschhoek Country House
Taking a slow stroll back to our room. Note Husband is in long pants and covered shoes during the day here, a rare sighting that tells you it was pretty darn chilly.
Road in Franschhoek
Once we’d checked out, we couldn’t resist this road that whispered, “Follow me…”
Butterfly World
We made what we thought would be a quick detour to see the Butterfly World tropical garden, but there’s so much more than that on the grounds that we stayed a good two hours. See Husband enjoying a plate of curry and rice while it drizzled.
Butterfly World
There’s lots of lush greenery and birdies flitting around along with the butterflies. Also, many interesting take-away trinkets to look at.
Butterflies drying
We braved the rain (there are clear umbrellas to collect before stepping outside) and you can just see the butterflies drying out.
Butterfly World Zoo
While the butterflies were lovely, they flitted around so fast we couldn’t take any pics. There are so many sweet rescued animals all around though that before you realise it, you’ve spent hours wandering around in awe at nature.
Guinea pigs and cockatiels at Butterfly World
Look at the little critters! Some were friendly, some were shy, all were precious. We have a video of the birdie scratching it’s way over Husband’s arm and then leaping scarily at my shiny phone.

That’s all, folks! Hope you have a relaxing weekend. Cheers!

*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Franschhoek Country House and Monneaux were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.