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Lessons I’ve learnt at the 2017 #ECMeetup

June 2, 2017

If you’ve been following me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been writing about the ECMeetup like crazy. You’d have thought that I was one of the organisers. I’m not. I’m just super supportive and proud of Luchae and Eleanor on pulling off another great event. The event was over two weeks ago, but here I am, only writing about it now. I’ve been busy with exams, hence the lack of blog posts, but now that I’m done, it’s back to blogging as usual. The meet up was well attended, and it’s great to see online personalities in the area supporting the event.

On the morning of the event I had overslept and the venue is a 40 minute drive from where I stay. Also I had to take an alternate route due to protest action in the city, and my GPS ended up taking me via the scenic route. Fortunately I managed to get there on time. There were so many people to catch up with! I spotted some of my blogger friends at the Masterton’s stand across the porch and skipped going through the entrance to say hi and get some coffee.

The Plantation pulled out all of the stops, as they usually do. The venue was decorated in lanterns, roses, lush foliage and proteas, which gave it an elegant and proudly South African touch. They had a pancake table setup.  I didn’t take photos of my pancake because I threw nearly all of the toppings on and it looked like a hot mess. It was definitely not Instagramable like the table, but it tasted amazing.  That being said, I should have gone for seconds!

The pancake table at the #ECMeetup is divine 😍😍😍 #sharethebay

A post shared by OD (@osoinspired) on

The event started and we got down to business. First up was Ronel from Rain, she gave a beautiful backstory on the business, but more on this in another post. The main presenters Davene Prinsloo and Mandy-Lee Miller gave such great advice on the areas of their expertise. Davene spoke about the technical aspects of photography, which bloggers need to know and I learnt a lot from her. This post however, is about branding my blog.

Here’s a little secret, I was planning to give OSI a huge overhaul. Split it up into two sites, give both new names, each with a completely new image. Let me tell you, I’m glad I waited for the #ECMeetup before I finalised anything. Mandy-Lee spoke about branding and blogging and most of the time I felt like she was speaking directly to me.

Keeping up with the…

Late last year I attended a blogger presentation (just to be clear, it’s not affliated with the #ECMeetup), where the facilitator basically said everything I (and a lot of other people in the room) am doing, is wrong (well not exactly in those words, but she may as well have) and said that us PE bloggers are not the Kardashians. Yes, she did say we’re not the Kardashians. Not that I aspire to be one, but okay. I and a few others left that presentation feeling so despondent that some of us, including me, seriously considered giving up on blogging. So the changes I had been planning had been based on the information in that presentation. And by changes, I mean “fixing” my siteand doing it the “proper” way. What I learnt from Mandy-Lee is, there’s no “proper” way to blog.

Mandy-Lee’s presentation at the meetup was the exact opposite of what was said at the other one I attended. She spoke a lot about branding, but one thing that stood out for me was that people read blogs for the blogger’s experience and personality. And when Mandy spoke, with every point she made, she could back up it up and she doesn’t do the opposite of the advice that she gives.

Thanks to you!

Well one things for sure, I am not a Kardashian. Also it would be insulting to you guys, my readers, to think that people won’t read my blog because I am not a celeb. You, a real person, are taking time out your busy day to read this post, to read my blog. I’m not a celeb, and yet you read it. So there must be something you like about it, right? You’re spending your time, reading my blog instead or Kylie Jenner’s or whatever celeb who has one. And that’s pretty awesome, so thank you!

That being said, Mandy-Lee’s presentation has inspired me to still rebrand OSI, but it won’t be drastic. OSI will still be OSI, but there’ll be a new look and a few other changes. Because I’ve been busy with exams I haven’t started with my plans, but will be doing so soon. So keep an eye out. Her presentation also made me feel more confident in my blogging. I left the meetup feeling like I could go out and conquer the Internet, and not give up on my little space on the internet.

Thank you to everyone involved for making the #ECMeetup a great event, and see you guys at the next one.

One of The Plantation’s gorgeous guest rooms.

Life

The lazy girl’s guide to autumn/winter jackets and coats (plus win with Superbalist)

March 29, 2017

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so glad that the colder months are finally on their way. The last few weeks the temperature has been in the higher 20s along with some days being in the 30s and 40s, you’d swear that Port Elizabeth is still in mid-summer.

The weather has barely cooled and I’m already looking at winter jackets and coats. I’ve also begun binge watching trashy reality shows, so you should know my productivity levels will be at an all time low this winter. Investing in a good winter jacket or coat is important as a good quality one can last you many seasons (my oldest jacket is around 10 years old, and it’s as good as new).

At the moment the 90s is still influencing fashion trends. Superbalist has a bunch of trendy and stylish jackets in their Autum/Winter 2017 collection that I can foresee being stylish once the 90’s trend has passed. There are 6 designs that every one should have: the parka, the bomber, the puffer, the biker, the coat and the faux fur. Here are my faves from their AW17 collection. Also you should keep on reading to find out how you can win a R500 voucher from Superbalist.

The Puffer

Being a child of the 90s, I remember puffer jackets fondly. These were so popular when I was in primary school. All of the cool kids wore it. Also the bigger the puff, the cooler the jacket. I still love puffer jackets, but just not the bulky kind anymore. I like the Tahoe hooded coat as it’s not bulky and is longer length (to cover the booty). Plus it’s got a hoody. It looks like a good jacket that will last quite a few seasons. It’s casual, but it can still be worn to the office on chilly days.

The Bomber

Another big trend that I remember as a kid, was bomber jackets. After begging for ages, my mom bought me a faux leather one and I wore that jacket until it literally fell apart. Seriously, bits of the leather began peeling off. Bomber jackets are usually quite casual and best worn with jeans. But Superbalist has quite a few sleek styles in their bomber jacket collection, which could easily be paired with a pencil skirt or tailored pants for a more formal look.

The only thing that can top a leather bomber is probably a leopard print bomber jacket. So when I saw the Villa bomber jacket I knew it was love at first sight. Leopard print is iconic. Bombers are trendy this winter, but leopard print is trendy forever.

The Parka

Parka jackets are seriously underrated they’re both functional and stylish. Parka jackets are probably the most comfortable jacket ever designed. I’m not a fashionista, but personally I think that they will never stop being trendy and never go out  style. This is why I think it’s important to invest in a good quality and versatile parka. I love white jackets, but unfortunately can never keep them clean. I still love this Iris parka. The faux fur adds a great touch to it and I love that the front has buttons and a zip.

The Biker

A biker jackets can make any outfit edgy. Biker jackets also keep you warm because they’re normally made with faux or real leather. This biker jacket black by Glamorous is made from faux fur and faux leather. The faux fur lining looks so snug and warm. I also like the zipper and belt details and the fact that the zippered pockets form part of the design. The hemlines also have an unfinished look to it, which I also really like.

The Coat

Everyone needs a good coat in a neutral colour that will last many seasons. I’m a big girl and this plus size belted wool coat is stylish, it will keep me warm and the best part is that is basically an outfit on its own. Just think about it. You’re lazing in sweats, binge watching series and suddenly realise that you’re out of snacks. No need to change your outfit to go to the corner store, just throw this baby on and you’re dressed. This tip is basically a lazy person’s guide to style. Buy a nice big coat, throw it over anything and you’re dressed.

The Faux Fur

Who needs real fur when faux fur is so fabulous these days? Is there anything as luxurious as a faux fur jacket? You could be wearing the most plain or boring outfit ever, but if you throw a faux fur jacket on, BAM! It completely transforms you (nevermind the fact that they’re also so warm). Snuggling up in a lush, plush and cruelty free jacket is pretty awesome. I legit feel like Anja Wintour when I wear mine. I love this Long line faux fur bomber jacket as it reminds me so much of Cher from the classic film Clueless. It’s so effortlessly chic. I just need a mansion to go with it.

Win a R500 voucher from Superbalist

Here’s your chance to win a R500 voucher from Superbalist. And it’s super easy.

All you have to do is visit this link to Superbalist’s Jackets and Coats collection. Then comment below with the link to your favourite jacket or coat and tell me why it’s your favourite. That’s it. So easy right?

Before you enter, be sure that you’re well acquainted with OSI’s terms and conditions.

The competition closes Wednesday 5 April 2017 and the winner will be announced Thursday morning on my Facebook page.

This post has been sponsored by Superbalist, but as always, opinions are my own.

Life

A taste sensation at Radisson Blu’s Tabu restaurant in Port Elizabeth

March 11, 2017

I was recently invited to the Radisson Blu’s Tabu restaurant in Port Elizabeth to taste and experience their new menu. It’s been a while since I last wrote about the hotel, and although I have been back to the restaurant since my last post, it was before the renovations. The restaurant is not just open to hotel guests, it’s also open to the public.

Situated on the first floor of the seaside hotel, Tabu restaurant epitomises style and chic, with a touch of elegance and luxury. The restaurant over looks the hotel’s pristine pool and  coastline along Pollok Beach. The media launch was perfectly timed for us to see the last rays of the day, as the sun set across the ocean.

tabu restaurant

The evening soon set itself apart from other events that I’ve attended in the city. The launch was broken up into stages: starters, mains and desserts. Sounds like most restaurant events, but boy it was not like other restaurant events. The theme was taste the world, so each stage had a country as a theme.

Starting with Italy

Starters were served in Tabu restaurant, while guests were entertained with live Italian music. I had the mussels, the tabu salad (pictured above) and the prawn bisque risotto. Each dish was small, so that guests could try multiple dishes without getting stuffed. That way you can try more dishes in the next stages.

Let me tell you about the prawn risotto, I could probably ramble for days about this dish. It’s made with queen prawns, orange and vanilla, bisque sauce, pecorino cheese, spring onion and basil. It’s so smooth, and creamy and it’s flavours just blend so well. When you visit Tabu, you must try this dish. Just trust me.

Pictured below is the Norwegian salmon.

tabu restaurant

Homegrown mains

If it’s not clear to you by now, the Radisson Blu and Tabu restaurant know how to put together a lavish occasion. Once the starters were finished, we were whisked off to the roof of the hotel for the mains. The elevator does not reach the top of the roof, and walking up the last flight of stairs, left me feeling like I was in action film. We weren’t told where we were going, or what was waiting for us. In true Radisson Blu style, they turned Mission Impossible into Mission Possible (sorry for the dad joke, I just couldn’t resist) and transformed the normally off limits roof top with a tent and South African decor. The views were spectacular. Having dinner while listening to the sounds of Umle and looking at the city lights below, was absolutely breath taking.

tabu restaurant

For mains I had the lamb rack and vegetable stack. Many people said that the lamb rack was their favourite dish of the night, but I have to disagree. Although it was delicious, it cannot compare to the prawn bisque risotto. I’d drown myself in that dish. The vegetable stack was also very good. It came with different veggies, toasted hazelnuts and goats cheese.

Desserts fit for a president

When we done with mains, I thought there was no way that they could top this with the desserts. I was wrong. The last stage was French themed last stage, and was based in one of the presidential suites on the 17th floor. The views rivalled that of the roof, and the suite epitomised luxury.

tabu restaurant

I am not ashamed to say, I tried most of the desserts and I regret nothing.  Amongst the sweet offerings was cheesecake sundae, blueberry and almond tart, chocolate log, tiramisu and a rosy pear pudding (pictured above). What stood out for me was the cheesecake sundae and the blueberry and almond tart. The chocolate log was also tasty, and a must for any chocoholic.

What impressed me the most was all of the new ideas that the Radisson Blu staff are bringing to both the restaurant and the city. Beginning March 2017, Tabu restaurant now hosts a high tea on the first Sunday of every month. They will also be hosting a buffet the last Sunday of every month as well.

Hope to see you there!

Life

Affordable accommodation in East London

January 17, 2017
affordable accommodation in East London

I’ve only been to East London a few times and haven’t really thought much of visiting the area even though I’ve never gone deep into the city before. A few days ago, I had an impromptu visit to East London and realised how big the city actually is. I was in awe at the size of the Buffalo river as we drove over it. There are also a number of buildings in the city with beautiful Victorian architecture. Due to a family member getting married in the city, I’ve had to search for affordable accommodation in East London. Everyone who travels knows that accommodation can easily be one of the most expensive parts of travelling, which is why it’s important to look for inexpensive options.

Tips on finding affordable accommodation in East London

Compare prices online

Check out AccommoDirect and take advantage of their different filters. The site allows you to narrow down your budget. The site also has a nifty “Must Have” feature, which allows you to only filter in facilities that has the services and add-ons that you want. This helps keep costs low, as you’ll only be paying for what you want and need.

AccommoDirect also allows users to filter which type of facility they’d like to stay in. From hostels to hotels, bed and breakfasts to self-catering, this site has it all. They have over 50 listings in East London, which can be seen here, and a number of them have been rated and reviewed by users. You’d be able to select a facility that meets your comfort standard and your budget.

Choose self-catering

Choosing a self-catering facility keeps costs low. You pay less for the accommodation and it’s much cheaper to make your own meals. If you don’t have the time or willpower to make your own meals, chat to some locals, they’ll be able to direct you to delicious and affordable eateries.

Choose your season carefully

In most cities, most if not all accommodation facilities rates are based on the seasons. East London is pretty busy during summer and the festive season, so expect to pay premium prices during these periods. Visit the city from mid-‘s February and March when the weather is generally still quite good as it’s before winter sets in. You’re sure to find some good deals and still be able to enjoy good weather, but without high prices or the crowds.

More about AccommoDirect

AccomoDirect can help you find affordable accommodation in East London that will fit your budget and your comfort needs. They have over 50 listings in various areas in the city. The site is one of South Africa’s largest accommodation portals and has over 20 000 accommodation listings across 2 000 destinations and has 10 000 reviews on it. Browse through their easy to navigate site to find accommodation for your next trip.

Click here to find out more about AccommoDirect’s listings in East London.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AccommoDirect. All of the views expressed in this post are my own.
Featured image: by BfluffOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link; Queens Park By BfluffOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Life

Fun activities and accommodation in Port Alfred

January 10, 2017
Accommodation in Port Alfred

Like many people, I really want to travel abroad. I’ve been toying with the idea of visiting Thailand for my birthday in March, but I’ve decided against it. For me, it’s not so much due to cost, but due to opportunity cost. So I’ve decided to keep my birthday travels local. I haven’t yet decided where I want to go, but I do know that I want it to be a road trip. As much as I love the ease and convenience of flying, there are a lot of small town gems that I’m missing out on. I’ve begun looking around at places and one of the places that I’m considering is Port Alfred. My brother lived in the town for a while, but I haven’t been there since he left. This is why I’m looking into fun activities and accommodation in Port Alfred for a trip away.

Port Alfred is a coastal town, which is about an hour and a half’s drive from Port Elizabeth. I like to think of it as a holiday town. It has great weather and a lot of activities for holidaymakers. Whether your idea of a fun holiday is action packed with water sports or lying on a beach with a good book, this town caters for individual and family getaways.

There is a wide range of options for accommodation in Port Alfred.  This town boasts accommodation in the form of guest houses, backpackers self-catering, guest farms and game lodges. All of these options and more can be found on the AccommoDirect website, which has over 20 listings in Port Alfred.

Looking for accommodation in Port Alfred

It is a small town, so distance is not a big issue when looking for accommodation in Port Alfred.  From my time in the town, I experienced that it never takes more than 10 minutes to get from one point to another. So there’s no need to stay in a central location. Staying nearby the beach or the river mouth would be the best bet for me.

AccommoDirect lists a number of options that suits every budget. If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, a resort or hotel on the beach or river bank is a must. Waking up to the waves breaking is amazing. There are however, more affordable options for individuals on a budget. The site also makes it easy to book, due to the instant confirmation feature.

Port Alfred Canal

Activities in Port Alfred

As a holiday town, Port Alfred has many fun activities. The town has great weather for most of the year and idyllic beaches.

Canoeing on the river

The Kowie River runs through the centre of the town. There’s a canoe trail that can be done, but if you’re not keen on an adventure you can leisurely float on the river.

River Cruise

If canoeing seems like too much exercise, there’s always option of going on one of the river cruises. This seems a bit more like in my line, especially considering that I threw away every swimsuit I own (I need to get new ones).

Sandboarding

I’ve never been sandboarding before and there are a number of beaches in Port Alfred where you can try it out.

AccommoDirect makes booking your accommodation in Port Alfred so easy, you’ll have more time to focus on having fun.

Click here to find out more about AccommoDirect.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AccommoDirect. All of the views expressed in this post are my own. Photographs are attributed to their respective owners.

Featured image: A3albOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link; Port Alfred Canals by NJR ZAOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link