30 Sep 2014

The Colour of Food {GIVEAWAY}

There is not much that I love more than sitting in front of the TV watching cooking programmes all day. The only things that top that are my cat and popcorn covered doughnuts.

These programmes normally consistent of a pretty lady or a middle aged gentleman telling you about the history of their culture or family's food traditions. Some of these cultures include French, Italian, Mexican, Greek and Vietnamese. But it is very rare to hear about the smaller countries.
I come from South Africa, a place with rich food and diverse dishes, but we aren't talked about much on the Food Network. Now I live in New Zealand and once again, the food is never discussed on big TV networks.

When I was sent Anne Else's new book (originally in E-format and now in paperback) I was completely floored by the way Anne associates with food. It's a whole different world and it's quite exciting. Anne talks about how she grew up with food, what role it played in her life and how it's purpose changed as she did. 
The best part?
It's set in New Zealand, written by a New Zealander and about New Zealand food.
It was an eye opener (especially for a foreigner) to see how food evolved in New Zealand. I would definitely recommend it to everyone. Kiwis will associate with the book, they'll be able to relate to the products mentioned and think back to the times Anne describes in the books. Everyone else will be afforded a glimpse into the Kiwi culinary world.

The good thing is that if you really want a copy of The Colour of Food then I can help you out! I have two copies of Anne Else's The Colour of Food to give away to two lucky readers!
You can enter below now for a chance to win your own copy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 Sep 2014

Top 5 Stock Photo Resources For Your Blog

You know those days when you want to post about something random and you need a fantastically pretty image to go with it? But you're not made of money which means you don't have a Gucci scarf or a bunch of expensive lilies hanging around to be snapped at any moment so you have to resort to a stock photo.
Well that's always a problem because how do you give credit? Who do you give credit to? When will it be warm enough for you to justify wearing jandals because you're sick of tying your laces? ....Got a bit carried away there, sorry. But you get the picture (pun intended).

So today I'm bringing you a list of my Top 5 Stock Photo Resources for when you can't provide your own image. You can find a super comprehensive list here thanks to Lisa but these are just my top 5 that I use most often.

1. Gratisography is amazing for high quality photos. There's a good mix between plain and artsy photos so you could find almost anything you're looking for. There isn't a search function but it doesn't take too long to browse through and find something appropriate so you're pretty safe with this one.

2. I imagine Life of Pix to be like the Pinterest of the stock image world. It's beautiful and you want to recreate it so bad! There are some stunning images available here. And if you do have something that you think fits the bill and would look just as good, you can contribute to the site as well.

3. If you're not looking for anything in particular then Death to the Stock Photo has got you covered. You sign up and get a monthly update of stock photos to your inbox. I like to think of it as inspiration in my inbox whether I use the images they provide or not.

4. Who doesn't like a URL that gets to the point? I'm Free has all sorts of freebies from templates to images and you can browse their very well labelled categories for beautiful photos all the time.

5. If you're looking for a lot of choice then Foter is for you. They have a huge archive and you can find almost anything you're looking for with their search function. This is definitely the stock image resource to have when you're looking for something very specific.

Don't forget to check out Part I of the Blogging Best series on Photography Tips and Tricks for Your Blog.

15 Sep 2014

Top 5 Home Decor Items to Make it feel like Summer

There are some things I really hate about summer.
These include but are not limited to mosquitoes and sandflies and having to wear shorts even when I don't want to shave my legs.
Then there are things that I really love about summer like fresh cocktails and BBQs and buying summer decor for the house and garden. Some of you may know already that I am looking at moving into somewhere of my own soon so as you can imagine, I swoon at all home decor ideas on Pinterest and cannot go past the homewares aisle in any store without stopping to look. It's driving Michael mad.
Luckily for me, it seems that Freedom Furniture and The Warehouse have beautiful collections in their stores at the moment. Freedom has a new collection for Summer 2014/2015 with a focus on sorbet hues (yeah I also wanted to go get ice cream after that) and The Warehouse has some amazing items on sale.

1// Freedom Furniture's Semaphore Cushion - $39.95
This cushion is beautiful and really goes well with items (4) and (5) in my collection. I would definitely pop this cushion on a pretty chair outside during an evening of BBQing and grilling in the summer and prop it on the couch inside on cooler evenings. The colours are so beautiful, it would make a fantastic centre piece on a vintage chair.

2// Home Essentials Glass Drink Dispenser 8L - $25
This is on sale right now at The Warehouse and oh my word do I want this! Like something bad!
Can you imagine this dispenser with fresh, homemade lemonade in it? Or a sparkling water with lemon and lime slices and a variety of berries? Your guests will love being able to help themselves at picnics, BBQs and outdoor birthday parties.

3// Home Essentials Mason Glass Jar Dots 4 Piece - $7.50
These are also on sale right now so get 'em while you can! I love the idea of filling up a mason jar (perhaps from the glass drink dispenser you also bought on sale) and popping a lid on it. It stops your drink from being tainted by small insects, BBQ ash and falling leaves. It also keeps children and teenagers from accidentally swallowing a bee or getting stung. These are the perfect vessels for cocktails too!

4// Freedom Furniture Miller Dining Chair - $149
Yellow is my favourite colour so this chair would make me happier than a happy thing. I love the style of the chair around a table inside or out and with a cushion attached it could be a thing of wonder. It'll also add a pop of colour to any garden or room and make the sun brighter.

5// Solano Bistro Chair in Blue - $25
While this chair is mainly designed to be used outside, it would fit in quite well in an office or at a dining room table. You could combine it with the Miller Dining Chair for a blue and yellow palette that is incredibly hip right now. Or if you're feeling particularly DIY like, you could add a ribbon to the chair and have it at an outdoor summer wedding.

What is your favourite summer home decor idea? Would you put any of the above in your own home?

10 Sep 2014

Top 5 Tutorials for Improving Your Blog Photography

I spend a lot of time reading other blogs. I spend a lot of time reading tutorials.
I also spend a lot of time reading The Mortal Instruments series but that's not helpful in this particular instance unless you want to hear about my theory behind Jace's insecurities and why Clary is my least favourite character despite being the heroine. Don't get me started on Simon's awesomeness and how much I wish I was Isabelle.

So let's focus on what's important here. I read a lot of blogs because I like to see the different styles and personalities out there. While I try not to out right copy anyone, I do think that this influences my style a little bit (it's natural and everyone does it, don't pretend you don't) and that means that I like to read tutorials on how to achieve different looks and feels. This can be anything from the graphics on my blog to my writing to my photos.
And that got me thinking. I have a Pinterest board on tips and tricks for blogging but I normally don't spread it around so today I'm bringing you a quick list of amazing photography tutorials for your blog photos. Hopefully it'll help you and you can pick up some tips and tricks to try out on your blog.
This is Part I in the Blogging Best Series.

1. The girls over at ABM are just blogging superstars. Let's be real. Those girls know how to use cameras to their advantage and that means that they have some killer tutorials on how you can follow in their footsteps. They cover a wide range of topics so there's something for everyone and every skill level.

2. My Pinterest board offers lots of different tutorials on blogging photos specifically as well as photography in general. There are some general rules you need to get to grips with and some rules of thumb that are handy when you're trying to capture the perfect moment.

3. The SitsGirls have some fantastic ideas on how to get your photography looking good for your blog. They also have a wide range of topics that they cover and it's a great place to be interactive and social with others looking for helpful hints and tips too.

4. Seriously, who doesn't love Mashable? Their photo blogging tips are genius because they're not just instructions but a conversation with the pros. Extracts from photographers give you insight not only into the process but into the mindset of the photographers themselves.

5. This tutorial is specifically aimed at getting your light right. It's something that people take for granted and something that effects your images more than you could ever imagine. Take a leaf out of the Midwest's book and get fantastic lighting in all your photos.

Next time I'll bring you handy places to get free stock images for your blog when everything has gone wrong and there's no light whatsoever!