Great Gifts to Give

Giving gifts is always the most wonderful feeling, but giving something average or something that doesn’t necessarily have the person’s personality written all over it is not always as fun to watch.  I can’t bare giving a gift when I know its been a rushed purchase and not much thought has gone into it, I would rather wait longer until I find just the thing for them.

Sometimes you just have no clue, so here’s a list of lovely things to give, if you’re stuck…

Number 1 on my list may come as a surprise (unless you know me well, in which case it wont!) Rusks are my weakness, on a good day I will have 1.5, on a bad day up to 4 (eeek)!!! I would LOVE to receive this, what a great gift with a beautiful ceramic cookie jar to keep forever. Rusk Jar

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If you know someone who loves to cook and spends hours in the kitchen then this is the most beautiful apron I have ever seen and wouldn’t be ashamed to wear it out the house even – that’s how good it looks! Linen Apron

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We’re all so health conscious (or are supposed to be anyway) but we’re not all that good at knowing what to do about it or how to go about it.  Deliciously Ella is someone I have followed for years, when she first started writing about her illness and how the only cure for her was through healthy eating, I find it fascinating and inspiring how someone can be ill for so long and self heal through diet and a strong mind.  The ‘every day’ recipe book of hers is meant to be great and easy to follow (I have not used it yet) but a great gift to give to a health conscious friend who can or cannot cook. Deliciously Ella Every Day

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I’m not sure everyone’s as obsessed with lovely smelling candles as I am.  I love candles and they are usually quite pricey so not something one would just purchase on any given day (well not the good ones) a store I love to visit when I’m after a gift is L’Orangerie, their candles, soaps and bathroom products smell heavenly. L’Orangerie Candles

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Grandparents always love pictures of their grandchildren, finding a pretty frame that suits their interiors (or doesn’t) and filling it with a gorgeous pic is always a lovely idea. Leaf Print Frame

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For coffee lovers, I gave this to my husband for his birthday and I LOVE it (so does he ;)), it’s not a schlepp at all and the slightly longer time it takes to make than your normal coffee is worth every delicious sip. Bialetti Coffee Machine

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Plants are always a good choice too!  Snow Rose 

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Fill up a Glass Jar with home baked treats. Glass Jar

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Find a pretty, functional and less expensive basket and build a hamper, filled with nuts, wine, nougat, jam, homemade biscuits whatever you think the receiver may love! Basket

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Another great gift that would fit into any home no matter what the style are these beautifully crafted marble coasters that will last a lifetime, bringing a touch of elegance and glamour to the table.  Marble Coasters

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Happy Christmas shopping everyone, and it may be a good idea to forward this one onto husbands, dads, grandpa’s, boyfriends or just anyone clueless!

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The Blondes behind Simply Home

A couple of months ago, I had just arrived back in SA and was so overwhelmed by the amount of entrepreneurs this country is churning out.  There is so much incredible talent, driven by hard working creative people (many of which are in their 30’s with small children in tow), doing all sorts of amazing things.  Two of those happen to be the brilliant blondes behind the brand Simply Home, who’s concept translated into their product launch last November and has soared.

They bring us locally produced home décor that is ethically sourced, using home grown raw materials. Locally made furniture encourages job creation. This is the optimal modern day business model in South Africa.

Any of us with a bit of a conscience are all about preserving our planet and working locally. Ethically produced goods is one of the many reason’s I love Simply Home!

So who is behind Simply Home? Co-owners Lindsay Lloyd, who founded Simply Child 8 years ago, and Leigh Cattell who comes from a fashion retail background. Together they bring us contemporary, neutral décor with a Scandinavian touch, the minimalist look that is plaguing Pinterest. These great friends were born and bred in Cape Town but only met in London, where they lived together.

Leigh, whom I’ve known for over a decade, welcomes me with the loveliest smile that everyone who knows her will recognize. Her beautifully-styled home instantaneously makes me ogle at everything.  Leigh shares her stunning abode with husband, Andrew and their little girl, Sophie. As I walk through the front door I’m introduced to the equally bubbly and gorgeous Lindsay, who is hard at work, putting together all the furniture pieces; a DIY diva!

Leigh’s home exudes notions of the seaside. Showcasing different textures and styles in her open plan home provides a feeling of serenity. The use of neutral hues, splashes of grey and turquoise, express their love of the ocean. Leigh describes what makes a home warm. “A place that is comfortable, it needs to be lived in, we can’t be precious about expensive pieces, a home needs to be enjoyed and used.”

I never got the chance to see Lindsay’s home that she shares with her husband,d Grant and their two little boys near Kirstenbosch. I have no doubt it’s full of character and would be a wonderful expression of her energetic and creative spirit.  Whilst Lindsay is happiest in overalls at the Workshop, building, bashing and getting dirty, Leigh prefers a slightly ‘dressier’ role; client facing and sales liaison. They are both equally involved in all areas of the business, however I noticed that they each naturally gravitate towards their area of expertise. Lindsay says when her mind runs wild and she’s bringing too many new product ideas to the table, Leigh reigns her in and helps her focus on just a few designs at a time. They are currently aiming to launch up to three new products per month.

How do they come up with their ideas? They follow international trends, and Grant makes all the sample ranges. “Ultimately he would like to be involved doing this full time too.” Grant has been instrumental in their business as he was the original carpenter for Simply Home, building everything with his tools from scratch after work and on weekends.  They have now employed a full time carpenter and handy man at their workshop. This frees up some time for Grant, and Lindsay and Leigh are able to focus more on customer relations, marketing and everything else that comes with running your own business.

When asked what the future holds for Simply Home they both answer: “We want to grow Simply Home into exporting flat pack furniture.” Their Furniture pieces are most popular and of course with the weak Rand, exporting is definitely the route to go.  They are both so passionate about their products. They take pride in making exclusive products, nothing is mass produced. They take a concept and develop it from scratch, putting in hours of intensive thought and manual labour until they reach perfection.

How have they overcome the challenges of online shopping in South Africa? “Online shopping has completely done a 180 in the last year, the confidence of the SA people has increased and they now have faith in online shopping.”

These two brains together are a force to be reckoned with. Finishing each others sentences and laughing all the way, they are set for success!

Whilst I knew I loved the products from their website, having spent an hour eating biscuits (that was me) and drinking coffee with this fun duo, I am smitten. Having seen, felt and tested some of the stylish range first hand, I have shared some of my favourite pieces with you (click on links for product details). Quit ogling and get ordering!! http://simplyhome.co.za

Lindsay and Leigh’s Cape Town

Bakhoven beach with kids

Langebaan with the family (Leigh)

Kirstenbosch gardens with the boys (Lindsay)

Child free Dinners in Kloof Street

Leather Strap Wall Shelf

Round Wall Hook // Belly Baskets

Childrens clothes rail

Marble Collection