Tips from the professionals: How to host a special event

Everyone loves to enjoy the company of friends and relatives especially at the time of celebrations, however for a host, there are usually many things that can keep you busy – from food servicing, sitting arrangements, decorations, and a whole lot more. 

All the above have equal importance to making an event successful; however, food has its own very special place, regardless of the type of event, be it a wedding, seminar, business event or birthday party. 

So if you are planning an event, remember the food is of vital importance. It’s not easy to play “host” and still have to prepare, present and serve the food. 

Luckily for those who are planning a party, there are companies that do the food prep and serving for you, leaving you to spend time with guests.

It is important to note that success of any event is in the attention to detail. This is where the experts come in. 

Blue Strawberry Caterers, have provided catering services in Durban at both corporate events and private functions for more than twenty years and they list some benefits associated with hiring professionals, like them, for your function! 

  • Time saver: It takes a lot of time to plan food arrangements. Along with the menu selection, preparation and presentation of selected food items, the quality of the food. Rather bring in the professionals who have experience in this area.


  • Worthy return on your investment: Contrary to what people think, hiring experienced caterers actually reduces the expenses of food presentation. They know what type and amount of ingredients are needed to serve all your guests, so there is less wastage. Moreover, you don’t have to go and shop for the ingredients. It’s all taken care of. 


  • Crockery and kitchenware availability: It is much easier when someone else has all the utensils for preparing, presenting, and serving food. This is also another saving.

  • No need to worry: Professional catering services relieve you from the worries of after party arrangements. Cleaning up after a party is a challenging task as it involves lots of things such as returning tables and chairs to rental services, cleaning of used utensils, and managing left-over food.




Supplier: Blue Strawberry Caterers

Location: Durban, KZN

Contact: 031 579 1463


Disclaimer: Featured Image supplied by Blue Strawberry Caterers

Get ready for the Fitch & Leedes Gin & Tonic Festival on June 2nd!

On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, the Fitch & Leedes Gin and Tonic Festival in association with East Coast Radio – KwaZulu-Natal’s NO.1 radio station – will light up Chris Saunders Park in the heart of Umhlanga from 11am till 8pm!

Now in its second year, this lifestyle event is set to impress once again with a combination of elements such as artisanal food stalls, the biggest variety of Gin Durban has ever seen and a showcase of the best local musical talent, all brought together by a common love for Gin & Tonic.

The festival features the internationally award winning Fitch & Leedes range of bespoke mixers together with a wide choice of Gin including the likes of Wixworth, Triple 3, Distillery 031, Cape Town Gin, Cruxland, Whitley Neill, Gordon’s and many more. Plus, every ticket purchased gets you entrance into the event as well as a limited edition branded Gin glass and ‘Rate your Gin’ leaflet.

One of the many attractions at the Fitch & Leedes Gin & Tonic Festival is the opportunity to stand a chance to win a year’s worth of Gin & Tonic, simply by completing your ‘Rate Your Gin’ pamphlet as you go around from Gin bar to Gin bar. As you buy a Gin the bartender will mark that specific brand off on the leaflet. Once you have marked off every Gin and the leaflet is full, you can hand it back at the Cash Loading Station to stand the chance of winning!

This event is a must for your 2018 events calendar! So, keep on trend with the fastest growing drink craze and get your tickets now! Tickets are limited and available at a cost of R160 per person through, or R180 on the day subject to availability.

For more information visit This event is strictly over 18. Drink responsibly. T’s & C’s apply. Follow the event on Facebook:



May the sounds be with you at Music at Makaranga this May 6th!

2017 Music at Makaranga

If music, food and fun with friends and family is how you love to spend your Sundays, then grab your tickets now for Music at Makaranga which takes place on May 6th!

Bring your picnic blankets and enjoy an afternoon filled with great views and the folky sounds of headliner, South African favourite, Matthew Mole as well as other popular local musicians from 12 noon.

Matthew Mole is a born and bred Capetonian, but regularly plays his charismatic sets for Durban audiences. Known for his songs, “Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine; “Autumn”; “Holding on”; “Run”; “Inside Out” and more, Mole has taken the South African music industry by storm and has hoards of fans singing along.

This family-friendly event costs only R140 per person and tickets are available at Webtickets. Children under the age of 8 years old are free.

For those who need refreshment whilst enjoying the melodies, there will be fully stocked bars with all your favourite drinks, a wide range of some of SA’s best wines, beers, a Gin & Tonic Garden as well food which is made available from the restaurant onsite Makaranga Garden Lodge.

Due to the nature of the event, all concert goers must note that no food or beverages, camping chairs or umbrellas are permitted, however picnic blankets and cushions are more than welcome! Picnic baskets may also be pre-booked through the Makaranga Deli by ordering with them directly.

A park and ride service is also available for concert goers on a first come, first served basis. Gates open from 12:00 until 17:00. T’s & C’s apply.

For more information contact Big Nite Out on 031 512 5000 or follow the Facebook events page

Alcohol not for sale to persons under the age of 18. Drink responsibly. Picnic baskets orders to be directed to


Granny Mouse is my #InspirationForTheNation this April!

Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is my #InspirationForTheNation this April! This is why: 

5 Chefs, 5 courses, 5 wines, all for a good cause!

Granny Mouse Country House and Spa is appealing to the public to get involved in their fundraising initiative for Heritage House PreschoolHowick, which is set to take place on Monday, 2nd April 2018 from 17h30

“Join us in a night of community outreach for one night only; all for Heritage House Pre-School,” said Sean Granger, General Manager of Granny Mouse Country House and Spa.

The event will showcase 5 chefs, a 5-course dinner as well as 5 wines and fabulous spot prizes, all for a good cause.

1st course will feature Smoked Duck Ice Cream, Orange Compote, Baby Potato Crisps with Pea Puree, Blueberries, Edible Flowers & Micro Greens prepared by Executive Culinary Artist Wayland Green (Granny Mouse Country House & Spa)

1st Course- Executive Culinary Artist Wayland Green

2nd course will be a Yorkshireman’s version of Samp & Beans, Wild Greens, Maas & Crispy Pulled Lambs Belly prepared by Head Chef Charlie Lakin (Camp Orchards Boutique Resort).

3rd course will feature a Trio of Heritage – Curried Line Fish served in a Pineapple Zulu Broth Crowned with a Savoury Squid Head Bobotie prepared by Chef & restaurant owner, Tim Lander (La Vita e)

4th course will be Grilled Midlands Beef, set upon a Vegetable & Potato Rosti with a Roasted Tomato & Fennel Chutney, served with Crumbed “Gourmet Greek” Black Brie, Marinated Artichokes & a Biltong Crisp, Drizzled with a Buchu Jus – prepared by Executive Chef Lorenzo Giliomee (Fordoun Hotel and Spa) (Vegetarian option available) 

4th course- Chef Lorenzo Giliomee

5th course is called Jou Ma Se Poeding” and features Butterscotch Banana Pannekoek with Melktert Macroons, Koeksister Ice Cream & Tamatie Konfyt Brule prepared by Chef and restaurant owner, Jen Pretorius (The Farmer’s Daughter)

All proceeds will go to the Heritage House Preschool which has been running for about 3 years and welcomes children from all backgrounds that live in and around the Midlands area. As with many schools there is a constant need to raise funds for maintenance and other unforeseen issues that crop up from time to time.

With charity, and the need to help others close to the hearts of the team at Granny Mouse Country House and Spa, they took it upon themselves to sponsor and host the evening at the hotel in an effort to raise funds for the school to show their support. They also made contact with Chef’s in the Midlands area and surrounds, as well as E by A for the décor, Hire Factor for the professional entertainment hire and music and KZN Wedding DJ’s for the photo booth – to provide lasting memories of another Midlands 1st!

We encourage everyone to book their seat at a cost of R800 per person for dinner or secure their stay over at Granny Mouse which includes the dinner at a cost of R3000 (per room). All rooms are set at the same price and are based on a 1st come 1st serve basis.

Email or call 033 234 4071 and speak to Veronica to make your booking or to make a donation. Seats are limited, so booking is essential.

Bank details for payments and donations are:

Heritage House Preschool (Pty)Ltd


Account 6267 6854 831

Reference: Number on invoice

Bookings are only confirmed upon receipt of full payment. Menus & Wines are set (vegetarian option available on 4th Course only).

No under 18’s. T’s & C’s apply.

Book now to help the cause!



The Phase 3 development almost completed

Liberty Midlands Mall recently hosted a pre-launch of their Phase 3 development which included a site visit of the area for both media and those involved in the development, on March 1st!

After years of planning and hard work from the project team, the construction of Liberty Midlands Mall’s Phase 3 development commenced in November 2016 and is to be completed and ready for trade on 15 March 2018.

The Phase 3 expansion will introduce retail and leisure space of almost 22,000m2, increasing the size of the mall to an impressive 78,000m2, parking space that will accommodate over 3,000 vehicles, and will ultimately welcome several ‘firsts to the PMB market’ retailers to the mall.

The expansion brings the tenant count to over 200 stores, and has provided the space for brands that could not previously be accommodated. These include Volpes, Coricraft, Pick ‘n Pay Clothing, Tekkie Town, The Hub, Just Plastics and Rochester, amongst others. RocoMamas and Mozambik will be two of the five restaurants in Phase 3’s indoor-outdoor, alfresco style dining offering. Phase 3 will be anchored by Checkers.

Firsts to the Pietermaritzburg market:

Mozambik, Toy Kingdom & Build A Bear, Volpes & @Home Livingspace.

Other confirmed tenants:

Coricraft, RocoMamas, Tekkie Town, Pizza Hut, Pick ‘n Pay Clothing, Cell Plus, Crazy Store, Mattress King, Checkers, Checkers Liquor, Rochester, The Hub, Gadget Paradise, Leather Gallery, Midlands Laser Clinic, Woolworths (extension), Just Plastics, Bargain Books, Absolute Pets and Arthur Ford.


Liberty Midlands Mall, located in Pietermaritzburg is the jewel of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. With passion and inspiration drawn from the Zulu Kingdom, the mall is draped in African culture and pride.  Measuring an impressive 56, 000m2 it is the largest and most popular retail destination across the Pietermaritzburg area. Home to 168 local and global retail stores Liberty Midlands Mall offers a unique retail experience by fusing indigenous inspiration with international style through its assorted mix of fashion, food and leisure, attracting millions of shoppers each year.

Liberty Midlands Mall is currently adding the highly anticipated Phase 3 development. The scheme will include a significant expansion of the Woolworths store, a new Checkers store, and an al fresco dining area. Set to launch in March 2018, the expansion will further strengthen Liberty Midlands Mall’s position in Pietermaritzburg and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, further increasing the mall’s appeal to locals and visitors alike. On completion of Phase 3, the size of the centre will increase to an impressive 78,000m2.

Liberty Midlands Mall is owned by Liberty Two Degrees and Liberty Group Limited, and managed by JHI Retail, part of Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate, one of Africa’s leading trusted provider of fully integrated, self-delivered property related solutions and services companies.

For more information please visit either,, or

Seen at the pre-launch were:

Gerald Schulz (Architect from Impendulo Design Architects) Muhammad Varachia (General Manager of Liberty Midlands Mall), Peter Lowe (Project Manager from Origin Project Management) & Vusi Hamese (Technical Manager of Liberty Midlands Mall).
Karen Unsted,Sasha Edel and Ursuhla Govender
Muhammad Varachia (General Manager) with Brian unsted (Assett Management Executive
Group image of Liberty Midlands Mall marketing, management and media that attended the site visit

Travel Review: The View Boutique Hotel & Spa


When it comes to a getaway full of relaxation, quality time and attention to detail, The View Boutique Hotel & Spa is a perfect choice!

Driving up to the property you are welcomed with two entrances, a parking area that leads to the restaurant and another a little further around the bend which can accommodate 100+ cars. This area, I was told, has been newly renovated and off the road, the Hotel does not look like much – until you drive in. This truly is a hidden gem.

Upon check-in, the staff are extremely friendly and hospitable. You are not only welcomed with a smile but along with that comes a sugar bar complete with sweets and pastries – a signature offering courtesy of The View. Delish!


The General Manager, Tammy Bogusch is professional, yet with a warm demeanor that would have you feel as though you’ve known her for years.

She runs a staff contingency of around 50 people spread across, reservations, housekeeping, spa, maintenance and food and beverage. However, the owners, George and Joan Lithgow are very hands-on and can be seen in and around the property. The View Boutique Hotel & Spa started from a mere 2 rooms back in 1994. Since then, the hotel has grown into the prestigious establishment it is today.

Once we were checked in, the lovely lady at reception asked if we needed help with our luggage and we then retreated to our room.

When we arrived, we were stunned at how gorgeous The Grand Deluxe Room with a sea view was. The room boasts a four-poster bed, large TV, balcony and luxurious bathroom. Our Jacuzzi bath with jets (yes jets!) was filled with gorgeous pink petals, and I loved the signature touches of gold on the crisp white towels and leafy green accents, which gave it an exotic Island feel. The body wash, shampoo, and hand wash are all top of the range, that of, Charlotte Rhys – plus, there is a pair of toothbrushes with mini toothpaste which is a lovely touch.



When we moved further into the room, we were welcomed by a bed full of goodies, from a platter full of fruit sticks, olives and feta and other little niceties, to a complimentary bottle of wine, to water, chocolates, and rose petals scattered on the bed.


To celebrate our getaway, we popped open the wine and sipped it while nibbling on the platter and looking at the ocean from our balcony.


What is a getaway without a little exploring? So that is just what we did! The View Boutique Hotel & Spa boasts 6 pools, a terrace with an ocean view, a large spa with fully-equipped gym, an award-winning restaurant called Giorgio’s, and more – there is so much on offer at The View, you won’t even need to leave until check-out time.








Spa jacuzzi



Skin softening milk bath


During our stay, we were fortunate enough to be treated to a couples pampering treatment complete with a Swedish back, neck, shoulder and head massage and soaking in a skin softening milk bath. For me, this was probably the best back massage I had ever had. The ladies had a wonderful technique, communicated well and were professional. There was also the choice of enjoying a 30-minute session in the Jacuzzi/sauna – which comes standard with every accommodation booking.

When it came to dinner time, we couldn’t wait to try out the restaurant. Giorgio’s is a creation by father and son, George & Giorgio. The restaurant offers a fusion style cooking with Italian flair and boasts elegant décor with chandeliers, accents of silver and plush seating to ensure both luxury and comfort while dining.

The menu offers starters ranging from Snails, to Ostrich Carpaccio, and even Mussels Mariniere, to mention a few. They have also created a menu of designer pizza options, featuring the likes of Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and more (see below). With the restaurant having an Italian influence, there is a wide selection of pasta dishes, as well as speciality dishes featuring their signature dish – beef fillet.


When we placed our order, we decided to skip the starters and go for a main and dessert.  I opted for a Fillet & Mushroom pasta – Giorgio’s creamy white wine sauce served with fillet strips and mushrooms on Italian linguine  – and hubby chose the speciality – Tender fillet of beef resting on a base of thinly sliced creamy potato & baby spinach topped with crispy onions and jus. Both dishes were fantastic. Plus, we were treated to a mini pizza as a pre-starter. For dessert, we were advised to try the Chocolate Brownie with Pecan Nuts, which was out of this world. We will definitely be going back to try some of the other dishes! Price-wise the rates are competitive and reasonable for the size of the dish you receive. It is well worth a try!

The restaurant also allows guests to get a glimpse of the history of the hotel and the restaurant itself with a  photo wall featuring memories of the family and the Hotel. There is also the wine cellar, which showcases the wide range of wines on offer (they recently won a Diner’s Club International Diamond Award for their wine list for 2017).

Photo wall
Beef fillet
Fillet & Mushroom pasta
Chocolate Brownie with Pecan Nuts

At breakfast time the next morning, we decided to order room service and eat on the balcony, which was so relaxing. We had the table set up for us and the breakfast selection was so vast, it was hard to choose what to eat. We both had a yoghurt and muesli starter and then hubby had the English Breakfast whilst I had a three egg omelette filled with caramelised onions, bacon, mushrooms, and cheddar – it was so appetising and it was complimented by a bit of “dolphin-watching” in the distance.

Room Service  – breakfast setup
The View's view
The View’s view

Overall our stay was 9.5 stars out of 10!

The room was spacious, the bed was extremely comfortable and we had a good night’s rest. The spa was amazing, the staff were hospitable and friendly, the venue itself is gorgeous, and the food was delicious. The only thing that may be a bug-bear for some, is that there are quite a few stairs, so it is important to note this when making your booking.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, The View Boutique Hotel & Spa is hosting a Valentine’s special at Giorgio’s. Find out more here

Address: 9 Hillside Road, Doonside, Amanzimtoti, KZN, South Africa


Restaurant is open from 06h30 to 21h30. Prices and times stipulated here are subject to change

Contact: 031 903 1556



Be YOU-nique – get #ColourfulHair because life is too short to be boring!

Whether you’re a colour junkie or prefer a hidden pop of #colourfulhair , colour is one of the latest hair trends.  See for more.

When it comes to colouring your hair this holiday season – why not go all-out and embrace the hot trend of #colourfulhair, but be warned, this is no DIY, seek the advice of a professional hair-stylist who can help you achieve your desired look and not end up with poo-coloured hair…*smiles*!

So every 6 weeks I try to visit the salon to get my hair-fix and this week I popped into my favourite salon – Bespoke Hair, to seek the advice of my favourite hair stylist, Claire Swart.

Claire is a passionate, experienced hair stylist that specialises in colour and conditioning of the hair and has over 25 years’ experience in the hairdressing industry.

She started her career in 1991, where she was an apprentice with the Sloanes Company until 1993. For 12 years after completing her apprenticeship, Claire continued to gain valuable experience from the Sloanes Company.

Claire has also worked at Blow Hair Bar and has also owned her own hair salon, called The Salon.

Claire is well equipped with the knowledge of Wella and L’Oreal products, amongst others and keeps up with the latest trends by attending various workshops and training.

In 2015, Claire was approached by Donald Olive (Owner of Bespoke Hair) to join him as a member of his team, where she is currently based.

“As a Hair Stylist, good colour and condition of the hair is what I am passionate about. I also have extensive experience in hair styling for top-end fashion shows, mode photographic shoots as well as wedding styling,” says Claire.

For me, Claire is my go-to person when it comes to colour. I love the trend of grey-hair and wanted to go a slightly deeper grey colour than that of my previous shade. Whilst describing what I was looking to achieve, she recommended that I try out one of the new vivid colours that L’Oreal Professional recently launched. Being slightly adventurous, I opted to get a pop of colour instead of an entire head (I am not that brave yet) – and because I was already going grey, blue was the complimentary shade to try. So now, I am embracing a pop of #mermaidhair – a gorgeous ocean-inspired colour.

Because I don’t always have much time to spend in the bathroom (like most moms), I can be quite lazy with the treatment of my hair, so Claire always gives me advice on how to keep my “mane”, “tame”. See her tips here:

  1. When you shampoo – shampoo twice! This helps remove oils etc and also gives the hair body
  2. Towel dry hair before conditioning. This is logical. If the hair is too wet, the product will just be diluted and run off, but if the hair is slightly dry it will be able to effectively absorb the product. Also, try to avoid the roots and scalp when applying conditioner.
  3. Drying the hair – firstly with a towel – use the towel to squeeze the water out of the hair instead of vigorously drying the hair. When this happens, the hair’s cuticle cells lift and it causes frizziness and dull-looking hair– and no one wants that!
  4. When colouring – do not expect a colour to come out exactly as planned. Remember, every hair type is different and takes differently to products, just as not every person is the same.
  5. When it comes to vivid colour, if your hair is dark, it is likely to take more than one sitting to reach your desired colour, however lighter hair is likely to take much quicker. But this is all dependent on your type of hair.
  6. Keeping vivid hair, well, vivid! Use products that help prolong the life of your colour.
  7. When brushing your hair: If wet, use a detangling comb to brush through. Hair is weaker when wet, so do not brush it, it is likely to cause breakage.
  8. Try to avoid going to bed with wet hair. Once again, wet hair is weaker, but in addition to this, wet hair may cause dandruff to build up. Microorganisms tend to thrive in environments that are warm and damp – so it could lead to dandruff on the scalp.

Book your next appointment with Hair By Claire at Bespoke Hair Durban via their Facebook page or by contacting the salon on 031 303 5242.

Follow them on Instagram to see the work that is produced @bespoke_hair_