Looking for accommodation in Johannesburg? The Capital Melrose is part of The Capital Hotels and Apartments group and is located next to the Melrose Arch precinct in Johannesburg. The hotel only recently opened on 1 May 2019.


I stayed in the 1 bedroom apartment at the Capital Melrose recently and here’s everything you need to know about the hotel.





On a cold 10 degree Monday night I went to Lanser's on Main for dinner. Greeted by Lanser himself and served by him and his friendly staff, my night just got better and better.

Lanser's on Main is a Bistro located in Johannesburg, Gauteng. They specialize in home styled Italian and French food. I recently enjoyed a dinner at their restaurant and here is an overview of my experience.





LOCATION


Lanser's on Main is located in Bryanston in the Sandton region in Johannesburg. It's just off the main road. The restaurant is in an easy to find complex and has secure parking outside.


AMBIANCE 


The ambiance is old school French and Italian. The decor is warm and inviting and has lots of cute elements like the empty frames on the walls. The music is calm and just softly in the background allowing you to engage in conversation. While it makes the perfect date night restaurant, unlike many others it's warm and inviting making you feel right at home.


FOOD


A unique element to Lanser's on Main is that their menu isn't "set in stone". They often have specials and options that aren't on the menu. Their menu is also very diverse with lots of different options for any craving.

Starter: Clam Chowder


This is an option that wasn't on the menu and was part of the night's specials. Clam chowder is a chowder soup containing clams and broth, and a few other vegetables. It was also my first time having clam chowder. The soup was filled with such rich tastes and flavors and the clams were delicious. However, I didn't particularly enjoy the diced potato (and there was a lot of it). Would I have it again? Yes, I would just ask them to hold back on the potato.


Main: Pork Belly


Again, I was being adventurous and having something I wouldn't usually. I don't eat pork often at all but Lanser himself recommended it so I have it a try. It consisted of a crisp pork belly, roasted potatoes, vegetables and a pineapple honey glazed sauce. Personally I don't think I'm much of a pork person (The texture is a bit weird for me) BUT however it is something I'd like to have once in a while and especially in the style it was served at Lanser's on Main. The honey glazed sauce blew me away, it added so much flavor to the meal.


Main: Steak


My partner had steak, medium to rare, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Again, the flavors were rich and complemented the steak perfectly. It was also a large portion that included veggies and french fries.


Dessert: Lemon Meringue 


I ordered the lemon meringue for dessert (My usual is either cheesecake and lemon meringue). The portion size was huge - so much so we had to share it and still didn't finish it! It tasted fresh and delicious. It was however a bit sweeter than I would have wanted it to be.


OVERALL


Overall, Lanser's on Main is perfect for a date night. The ambiance puts you at ease and the attention to detail is memorable. The food was lovely and they have so many different options to suit any preference.

RATING


These are my personal ratings based on the above experience. It is of course subjective.

LOCATION: 8
AMBIANCE: 10
FOOD: 8







I started the South Africa Small Towns Holiday Guide Series as a way to show off the best small town getaways in SA. Too often people focus on the big cities for holidays and don't take advantage of the amazing small towns. 

I've discovered some hidden gems all around the country, all near major cities, which make them perfect for day trips or long weekend getaways. 

To start off the series I have a Midlands Meander Travel Guide, Hartebeespoort Travel Guide and KZN South Coast Travel Guide. Next on the agenda is possibly a Stellenbosch Travel Guide and Clarens Travel Guide so let me know if you enjoy this series!



I started the South Africa Small Towns Holiday Guide Series as a way to show off the best small town getaways in SA. Too often people focus on the big cities for holidays and don't take advantage of the amazing small towns. 

I've discovered some hidden gems all around the country, all near major cities, which make them perfect for day trips or long weekend getaways. 

To start off the series I have a Midlands Meander Travel Guide, Hartebeespoort Travel Guide and KZN South Coast Travel Guide. Next on the agenda is a Stellenbosch Travel Guide and Clarens Travel Guide so let me know if you enjoy this series!



Now let's not get ahead of ourselves, my "everyday makeup look" is no makeup. I don't wear makeup everyday especially not to work or when I'm just going to be home. But some days if I'm going shopping or feel like looking pretty or being creative I'll do my makeup. These are some of the products I'll use as well as some suggestions. 





Since 2016 I've had almost every hair color under the sun - black (natural), brown, blonde, ginger, red and even purple. I've been fully embracing the different hair dying trends of our time (Platinum blonde, I've got my eyes on you). I won't even deny that this has led to my hair getting very damaged. Luckily for me, my hair is very thick and hasn't thinned due to it but it's definitely gotten more dry and doesn't look as healthy as before.

If you follow me on Instagram (@lifebyashasingh - do the things!) you'll probably already know what I wore on my UAE trip. With Dubai being such a popular holiday destination, I know this is something most people aren't really sure about.  So I'll break it down for you and show you what I wore.



Every girl deserves to treat herself every now and then and what better way then some gorgeous jewellery. I'm not one for a whole cupboard of jewelley and I definitely prefer to have one or 2 amazing pieces that I can mix and match and play around with.

Of course, Local is Lekker and I'm all about supporting local South African brands, but I know it's not always easy to find local businesses especially online - sometimes I'm tempted to just buy something off Wish (Which isn't ideal - I'd prefer a local small business getting my support). So just in time for mothers Day, here are some local small businesses you can buy a gift from (Or just treat yourself girl!).

High-end Jewellery


These aren't even just for more of a splurge - every girl deserves some high-end quality pieces. Especially now that I'm growing up, I find that I'd rather spend a bit more money and get something timeless that I can wear often and feel proud of.


Legacy Collection by Charmaine Taylor



I was introduced to Charmaine Taylor's Legacy Collection last month (with their collaboration with Pongrácz) and the story behind it absolutely captivated me, especially with it being Freedom Day on the 27th of April - each Legacy Collection piece is named in honour of South Africa’s struggle to democracy.  Also, you can make your purchase knowing that 10% of profits are donated to sustainable employment projects in South Africa. My favorite is the Africa Rising pendant - it has the outline of Africa with a unique, raw piece of fence running through the Africa shape.

In recognition for statement pieces, Pongrácz has collaborated with Charmaine Taylor. Her jewellery pieces are designed to be worn with intent, to raise awareness of the environment and human rights and have been celebrated for their striking designs. Best known for her jewellery formed from the repurposed historical prison fence from Robben Island, this latest collection custom-made for Pongrácz tells the story of being bold, fearless and individual. Each set of earrings is hand weaved and no two will be exactly alike, making them truly individual.

You can purchase Legacy Collection pieces on the Legacy Collection website.







Mid-range Jewellery

Because we're not balling just yet.

Della Online

Designed locally is Della Jewellery. Brainchild of by Pippa de Charmoy, classic lines, quality semi-precious stones and fine craftsmanship ensure that all Della creations are distinctive and utterly unique.

Della makes the perfect mid-range gift that won't break the bank but is still amazing quality. The packaging is beautiful and makes it feel like you're getting something totally exclusive. It comes in an elegant black box packaging in a little bag with the Della logo. I still kept the packaging because I love it as much as the actual jewellery! The earring collection is the most extensive with unique, colorful pieces that have stunning precious stones. You can purchase pieces on the Della website.


Affordable Jewellery


There's no kinda broke like college student broke. But we still deserve nice things. Here's a option for when you gotta make the most of those randelas.

My Image Exclusive

South African farm girl at heart, Annamie created My Image Exclusive at just 15 years old! She has beautiful handmade pieces at prices that don't break the bank and yet still feel so one of a kind and precious. Annamie goes all out with the beautiful presentation and there's just something about that personal touch that makes it feel even more special! You can purchase her pieces online on the My Image Exclusivewebsite.











You gotta admit, when it comes to local TV and movies we aren't exactly spoilt for choice. You get the classics like 7de Laan and Carte Blanche but apart from that? Recently there have been some gems that were produced in the motherland and that actually give Hollywood a run for their money. While the South African film industry seems to still be finding its feet, I have high hopes for the content that will be produced locally in the next few years.

I'll include selections from DSTV, Netflix, Showmax, BoxOffice and even the cinema to give you some options for your next binge watch session.



Accomodation in Istanbul, Turkey

Where to stay in Istanbul?


Choosing where to stay was possibly the most time consuming decision I had to make when planning the trip. I took about 2 hours to plan the itinerary and yet I spent weeks deciding where to stay! There are lots of options for accommodation and many are similar however choosing an area to stay in can be difficult.

So basically it comes down to 2 options Sultanahmet (the old city) and Beyoglu (modern Istanbul). Eminönü and Fatih fall under the old city while Beyoglu consists of Taksim, Sisli, Besiktas etc. The two areas are actually neighboring, divided only by the Golden Horn body of water and Galata bridge.


Known as the city where east meets west, the only city in the world in two continents - Europe and Asia - is none other than incredible Istanbul. Awe-inspiring architecture, rich history and immersive culture, Istanbul is a true gem and a must see city.

Sunsets over the Bhosphurus with the stunning silhouette of grand mosques - that's the image in my head when I think of the city.




When asked what to do for my 21st birthday, I didn't even have to give it a second thought - Turkey had been on my bucket list for the past 2 years. So after a very last minute thought, my mom and I booked our flights and were off to Turkey! In the next few posts I'll tell you a bit more about my adventures and what I got up to in Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Here are some travel tips and advice for planning your trip to Istanbul!




Unicorns, Rapunzel and a magical land of fairy chimneys and hot air balloons filling the sky at sunrise - what do they all have in common? They're all fairytales - or so you think! 
Cappadocia (meaning: "the land of beautiful horses") is very much a REAL PLACE in Central Turkey that has the most otherworldly feel. 


I think we all wish we could go back and teach our younger self some life lessons - why were we so young and naive?! At 21, I know I still have a lot to learn (Young, dumb and broke anyone?) but I'm more knowledgeable in hindsight. Now I'm by no means grown up, I still struggle at adulting everyday but being a teenager could sometimes feel even more difficult than adulting.

One year that definitely stood out for me was 2010, my first year of high school and the year I turned 13. Being 13 was undoubtedly my most difficult year growing up. Teenage hormones are so real. If I could go back to that awkward, confusing time, this is what I would tell my 13 year old self.





A LETTER TO MY 13 YEAR OLD SELF


Dear Asha,

Well you've made it to high school, I know how disappointed you are that it's nothing like it looked in Hannah Montana or High School Musical. Unfortunately in these 5 years, Zac Efron isn't going to fall in love with you (And neither is Justin Bieber so PLEASE get rid of that bieberasha@yahoo.com email address because it will come back to haunt you every time you try to log onto Facebook).

On that note, you my dear self, have no idea what being in love really is. And let me just give you a hint, it's not like what you've seen in those Disney movies you (secretly) still love.  All the guys you date this year, and pretty much all throughout high school, are not worth the time or the tears.

I know you're looking at the mirror wondering why you can't be a bit thinner, have acne-free skin or flowy straight hair. I know you're trying everything to fix those "problems" you have when you really should be loving your slightly chubby, imperfect skin, curly haired self. What makes those girls in school seem so pretty is that they have the level of confidence you should have.

That time your Arts and Culture teacher in primary school called you "Painfully shy" you keep etched in your brain. You wish you didn't struggle so much with social interactions, and you wish that for once someone wouldn't use the words "shy" or "quiet" or "introvert" to describe you. It doesn't make sense to you how some people can so easily make friends while you sit alone at lunch break and have to try so hard to have a decent social interaction.

Don't worry about that girl that called you a b*tch or those "looks" those girls gave you. Don't overthink those guys you wasted precious time with actually imagining a future with (Eww). Don't worry about those times you got bad marks, mom and dad were definitely not disappointed in you. Don't worry about that little world that you're living in because I promise you it will get better.

Soon when you tell people you were so shy and quiet they'll be like "Dude, why you lying?". Trust me, you're actually gonna be the social one in your friend groups (And on that note your friends will be #squadgoals). You'll meet people you actually have things in common with, people who will inspire you, and not just classmates you're friends with out of convenience. One day you'll get over those insecurities about your body and learn to embrace yourself love handles and all (except the bad skin, because your makeup is always on point, girl).

Soon you're going to get a newly found confidence, the kind of confidence that comes from deep within. You're going to find out how strong and independent you are, and that's what so many people will know you for.

Baby girl, there's gonna be downs for sure, but you're gonna learn so much from those moments. You're gonna go on adventures and have the most mind blowing experiences. You're gonna meet people that expand your horizons and help you grow more than you ever thought you could. You will end up meeting some decent guys eventually (Actually scratch that, most guys will still suck). You're gonna finish the schooling chapter of your life on a high note and end up studying something you love (eventually, but that's a whole other story!).

You're going to laugh without fear of the future, and have hope and excitement gleaming in your eyes.

Asha, it does get better!

Sincerely, 
Asha

(The 21 year old me)






The difference between success and failure is in taking the initiative. The Girl Boss series aims to highlight the achievements of women just like you and me who are doing amazing things. Hopefully their stories will inspire you as much as they inspire me. This week we chat to Rukaya Mansoor, founder of Woman of the World (WoW), a female empowerment initiative, and a qualified chemist at Esse Skincare.



More often than not, the world passes us by. Be it because we’re caught up in reaching the next deadline or because we are simply too tired to notice, but some days just go by. We can’t account for what we’ve done nor can we fathom a memory that is worthwhile to speak about. Although sad, it's not uncommon. That's why, when you live life, you need to make sure you are living it for yourself and for those dependent on you. 

A skincare range that is tailored to your age instead of skin type? This really intrigued me! A new skincare range in South Africa by professional skincare brand Nimue, AgeWell is their retail arm which can be found in Foschini stores and purchased online on their website.


The difference between success and failure is in taking the initiative. The Girl Boss series aims to highlight the achievements by women just like you and me who are doing amazing things. Hopefully their stories will inspire you as much as they inspire me. This week we chat to Tasneem Randeree, founder of Nura, an online accessories store, and MSc Molecular Biology student.



1. Who is your favorite female fictional character and why?

Wow, so many to even mention, I really love Khaleesi and Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones. But, if you asked my brother, he would say Mulan (both fictional and real) because I was totally obsessed with the movie growing up (still am and can recite the movie back to front).


2. Everyone's been making New Years resolutions. What are your New Years resolutions?

I’m not big on resolutions; I like to work through goals at my own pace. But if I had to pick one it would be; to be less judgey, there is way too much hate going on in the world and it needs to end. It’s time to start empowering others. More importantly, I feel like I’ve held myself back many times because I was worried about what people would say. It’s been so bad that I don’t even comment on pictures often because I wonder what people will think. So maybe if I let go of times I judge, I’ll be rewarded with the same energy. Also, it’s a big year for our business so there’s many resolutions and goals to work on (fingers crossed). If my husband and mother decide to read this, my other resolution is keep my cupboards more organized. My make up and shoes are everywhere!


3. If you could have lunch with any woman, dead or alive, who would it be?

Again, my brother would say Mulan (the real one). I am really inspired by empowered and strong women. Growing up, there were way too many fairytales about women being rescued by a man. Mulan was the first one I remember where the female lead saved herself instead of waiting around. Plus, it dealt with so many themes and topics that are still so relevant today.


4. What did you want to be growing up?

I think a ballerina for a while, I never really had an idea of where I wanted to be or who I wanted to be growing up. Which was great actually, because it landed me in science, although some days I think that was inspired by The Big Bang Theory.



5. Miss Scientist! What is it like as a woman in STEM?

I’m still currently doing my masters in molecular biology so not a full scientist yet. I started off with a Bachelor of Science because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. The course had really good credits but after the first month I realised that it was where I wanted to be. It’s great being a part of the STEM community, and as a female it’s extremely empowering. Of course, some days people ask me if it’s a stepping stone for Medicine or Pharmacy and I feel pushed back another 10 years. It’s an incredibly uplifting experience and community and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested.


6. What inspired Nura?

There was no real inspiration for Nura, we just needed money, so we started a small business and found a niche to work with. We made the effort from the start that we had to try and be different. We grew to love the work. I think sometimes it’s great to acknowledge that you don’t have to be passionate about something to try it.





7. What was it like starting a business? What are some of the challenges and wins you've experienced?

It’s incredibly hard, we picked a random name to try and keep some anonymity. We also refrained from telling people because we were so nervous about it. But getting out there was the hardest part. Once we overcame our fear, building up a base became a lot easier.


Every day presents itself with new challenges, the worst and the best part about business is the people. There are some days, where you are so frustrated you feel like giving up but more often you will have people that remind you why you started. Our biggest win was our collab with Nabilah Kariem last year, there are so many people that we have met along the way that have just made our experience so amazing.


8. What's it like working with your significant other? Don't you get tired of each other (Lol!)?

It’s really great actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We disagree on the smaller things often but we’re pretty much on the same page when it comes to running of the business. We’re learning how to work around and with each other, but we also have our studies and jobs away from the business to focus on, giving us a break.


9. What keeps you motivated when you feel like giving up?

Honestly, there are days where everything really brings me down to the point where I just don’t want to deal with it anymore and give up. We attend to messages whenever we can, even if it is late at night or early hours of the morning. We package orders at ridiculous times and lost tons of sleep. That’s when I like to scroll through messages and pictures that people have sent us where they are happy with our products and services. The people who support you will always carry you through. We are honestly nothing without the people who encourage and support us.




10. What advice do you have to girls who want to start their own business but are too scared?

I know it’s scary, truthfully, there is nothing to fear. Once you have decided that this is what you want, take the leap. It’s not easy but will be worth it. All small business at some point only had 100 followers, everyone comes from humble beginnings. You will also learn along the way, so you don’t have to be an expert in business to start. There is great network of small businesses who help each other, always offering advice or a willing hand. You are not alone in this.


11. Tell us a bit more about yourself.

I grew up in a small town in Northern KZN, moved here to study and now Durban is my temporary home. Small town and big dreams. Omw, I’m not that interesting. I spend most of my free time napping, eating, Netflix, watching videos of kittens doing stupid things and annoying my husband.


12. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

To relax, you will leave the small town, you will see the world, you will have your life together. Life has a weird way of working things out. Just take it one step at a time and everything will fall into place. It’s often advice I still give myself.




13. Lastly, where can we find you?


You can find me on instagram: @Tasneem.Randeree not very active on other social media but you can check our business out on instagram: @nuraonline_ or facebook: Nura Online




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