Innovative Ideas for the Home at the Cape Homemakers Expo 2015

When it comes to innovative ideas to help improve the home, most of us need a little help to get our creative juices flowing as well as to provide us with the product we need to make these improvements. Fortunately, there are a number of events taking place that are ideal for those who want to be able get some inspiration when it comes to home improvements, decor and style. One of these is the Cape Homemakers Expo 2015, which is set to take place between 27 and 30 August at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Many people will be attending this event, some to get ideas and inspiration from the experts and others just to have a look around to see what the latest trends are when it comes to the home. With hundreds of exhibitors set to participate in the 2015 expo, there will certainly be no shortage of ideas, products and advice for those who do attend.

The innovation continues with the 2015 expo

Over recent years, our homes have been revolutionised by all sorts of products, gadgets and devices. We have everything from smart TVs offering the latest in technology to mobile devices on which to enjoy all sorts of entertainment. You can use your mobile devices to access and enjoy a wide range of mobile sites and apps for your entertainment such as playing the exciting games on sites such as Springbok Casino, which offers a host of table games and virtual slots that can be enjoyed while you are relaxing at home as well as while you are on the move. Another popular entertainment option is Netflix, which allows you to stream your favourite movies and shows to your device and watch them wherever you like, whether it is in the house, in the garden or even when you go out.

The products displayed at this popular expo help to ensure that we are able to enjoy continued innovation in our homes, with products and innovation relating to many different areas such as kitchen and bathrooms, lighting, flooring, heating and cooling systems, energy efficient products, outdoor furniture, security, doors, windows, pools, roofing and a whole lot more.

You will be able to learn more about design, decor, and the latest style trends at this expo not to mention being able to see some fabulous new and modern products designed for use all around your home. There will be more than 300 people exhibiting at the show, so you will find plenty to feast your eyes on.

Amongst the companies that will be exhibiting at the expo is inVOGUE, which will provide information and product relating to the most modern and stylish interiors for your home. The Kitchen Specialist Association will also be present, and will as always be on hand to showcase some wonderful, contemporary and traditional kitchen designs to inspire and innovate. Other companies will showcase everything from handmade crafts and art for the home through to gourmet food, fine coffee, great wines and much more.

Get crafty @ Craft Burger Bar

I’ve always been a fan of the humble burger. My first favourite was from the Wimpy in Milnerton in the 70s (yes, I had humble beginnings with the humble meat sandwich). I then moved town side and loved the burgers from the old Milly’s in Buitenkant Street. Since then I have enjoyed many a fine burger and plenty not so fine. In terms of takeaways; I enjoy the Sea Point Steers and avoid the yellow arches like it was the bubonic plague. Honestly I’m not that fussy, and will happily try most street vendor’s burgers, especially if I need to wash down a few beers, but I’m never loving old MacDonald’s.

Now burgers have always been considered “junk food” or “fast food”, until a few years ago when the gourmet burger suddenly became a thing. You could stuff your burger with a range of goodies like beetroot, quinoa, pomegranate seeds and any other pretentious add-on you can think of, allowing gourmet burger joints the opportunity to charge a small fortune for their fancy bun and meat patties. Oh, and now that burgers were expensive, they were suddenly cool and sexy too. Really? I don’t think so. Burgers have always been cool.

When it comes to burgers, Russel Shapiro knows a things or two. He used to own Manhattans, where the burgers were not only great but reasonably priced. He also owned On Broadway the popular dinner/theatre spot, for many years, where the lamb burgers were legendary. He has moved on from both spots and now owns the Craft Burger Bar in Sea Point, my current favourite burger place. Here, for R49 you can build your own. You get cheese and a choice of four toppings; I recommend the chilli, gherkins and pineapple for starters, after that, you’re on your own. The patty is the real deal, with high quality mince, and the buns are optional if you’re a banter (yes, it’s a word – I just made it up). They also offer chicken and veggie patties.

You can order a side of fries, which are thick and perfectly cooked, made from real potatoes and cut by real people. There is a range of salads and handcrafted burgers on the menu. Try the chili and chocolate sauce burger or the Chakalaka and guacamole. Go crazy. You can even wash them down with…yes, you guessed it – craft beer.

I’ll be building my own. Great burgers, great value and Russel is a great host.

2015 Cape Town Carnival goes ELEMENTAL

A dazzling parade of carnival floats, hip-shaking dancers and foot-stomping bands, will storm the Green Point Fan Walk on Saturday, 14 March for the sixth annual Cape Town Carnival.

The evening will radiate glamour and glitz as 47 community performance groups  interpret the ELEMENTAL theme of Fire, Water, Air and Earth – ‘the unstoppable forces that shape us and our environment.’

Participants and spectators are invited to embrace the 2015 theme and dress for the occasion.  Shelley Finch, Cape Town Carnival’s Marketing, Media and Sponsorship Director says: “We encourage all of Cape Town to share in this spectacular night with us. Shine bright, dive into the sea, soar into the skies and float back down to earth while celebrating our interconnectedness, our relationship to each other, and our environment with Cape Town Carnival 2015.”

The first Cape Town Carnival was held in Long Street in 2010, when close to 11 000 people marked the occasion, together with the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. Since then, the crowds have swelled to over 50 000, with the parade now taking place along the Green Point Fan Walk. The expansion of Cape Town Carnival has helped to create local job opportunities, and assisted with skills and economic development across many communities, all within the inspiring arena of creative expression.

An explosion of fireworks at 19h00 will mark the start of the procession, which will wind along the 1.2km Fan Walk. Crowds will be blown away by the dazzling performers, inspired floats, imaginative puppets and extravagant contraptions.  Local designers together with an astounding array of costumes, puppets, gadgets and giant floats, will ensure that audiences will be treated to a world-class experience.

According to Finch, a life-sized elephant walking through the forest and a 10-meter long snoek puppet, operated in “Chinese dragon” style are two of this year’s creative highlights.

On event day, the audience is encouraged to join in the street festivities anytime from 16h00, when it will turn into a pedestrian walkway with food vendors, stalls and festive hospitality areas. “This is a great opportunity to introduce children to the diversity of our magical city and get them in the mood for the evening’s festivities with goodie-bag giveaways, face painting, acrobats and buskers,” says Finch.

“Many youths are participating in the Cape Town Carnival, and by simply being involved in creative and positive activities, they learn new skills and develop pride in their work.” The Fan Walk will close at 18h00, to allow for final preparations and cleaning ahead of the procession at 19h00.

Cape Town Carnival is an exciting multi-cultural event that enables Carnival-goers to “escape into carnival realm,” says Finch, where friends unite to celebrate their diversity. “Dress up… be a diva… bring your own style tribe with you. Come together with pride in Cape Town’s biggest street party and flaunt your cultural identity!” adds Finch.

The Cape Town Carnival After Party brought to you by Redd’s will allow partygoers to rock to some of SA’s hottest musical talent on the Green Point Stadium Forecourt from 21h00 until midnight. Entry is free on presentation of a ticket given away along the Fan Walk during the Carnival (for over 18 year olds only). One lucky person in the party crowd will win a car through the Redd’s After Party competition.

Getting to the Cape Town Carnival with public transport will be easy as additional MyCiti and Park & Ride facilities will be in operation. Metrorail will also offer a selection of late night trains for commuters.  Restaurants and cafés all along the route will be open and there will be seating stands along the Fan Walk for those wanting to be within inches of the performers.  Finch adds, “It’s a safe and wonderful fun-filled extravaganza, and a perfect place to meet friends and bring the family. Make Cape Town Carnival an annual tradition!”

In the lead-up to the 2015 event, Carnival-enthusiasts can sample a taste of the action at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre every weekend where participating community performance groups will display their hip-shaking dance talent and energetic music. Expect the glam lead performers to photobomb your selfies in their outrageous ELEMENTAL costumes. Grab a free Carnival mask invitation here, with all the info you need to make 14 March 2015 a memorable family day.

For more information on the 2015 Cape Town Carnival, visit, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @CTCarnival.

Steaks & Shakes at The Avenue

Harfield Village in Southern Suburbs really is a village. Very much suburbia, it’s where neighbours chat over walls – or not, peopThe Avenue: Harfield Villagele walk to  restaurants and, thanks to social media, more and more community events take place.

With my partner’s family living in the village we are regular visitors and have noticed over the years a definite increase in night activities. 2nd Avenue has become the heartbeat of the village and its residents’ breadbasket through several popular eating places.

A few years ago, just after it opened, we visited The Avenue for dinner. They had no liquor license then and although the food was tasty and good value, atmosphere and décor was sort of lacking.

The other night we returned. I had enjoyed an epic 13-hour mountain adventure the day before and was in need of some serious protein. Candice is always up for a good meal and our six-year-old son was so keen to try their burgers and milk shakes he gave up playing computer games with his favourite cousins around the corner to join us.

None of it disappointed.

Poppers that pop

I had the chilli poppers to start; Candice ordered calamari. The poppers were excellent; a nice size too – I don’t like poppers that look like giant firecrackers and explode gizz all over the table as you bite into them. The only problem was these had blue cheese in them and I don’t like blue cheese. The truth is I kind of thought it tasted blue, but it was inoffensive enough to not put me off.

But to the helpful staff at The Avenue, please mention its blue cheese on the menu or when taking the order. Not everyone, me included, is a fan of the blue. That aside the poppers had a nice kick to them – it’s not a popper unless it pops. A dude at a nearby table with sweat pouring down his forehead asked, “Did you have the chilli poppers?” Yip, I replied coolly. “F#*cking hot hey?” he said. Yes they are.

The calamari was tasty if not quite as succulent as other specialists would make it – but this is a steak house.

Peppermint crisp milkshake

“Scoops” ordered his burger and chips in the meantime and wolfed down half without skipping a beat; it received an immediate stamp of approval. He was so keen for his milk shake he would have eaten broccoli and beetroot right there, but the burger did look good and he finished off the rest a little later.

We had a few beers while Scoops enjoyed his peppermint crisp milkshake. It’s the business. We all had a taste, much to his disapproval; it was so good I thought of skipping mains and going straight to the shakes. Scoops loved it and so did we. And yes it does have pieces of the famous chocolate in it – it works.