From bonsais to super mushrooms


From bonsais to super mushrooms

Things on our radar that you don't want to miss.

  • 01 December 2023
  • Lifestyle
  • 4 min to read
  • article 15 of 18

"I'd rather live on my own than live with a face that looks at me with the wrong eyes."

— Jane Birkin

Things you want to know this week

1. MaXhosa Africa, the unique and colourful brand of Laduma Ngxokolo — the Eastern Cape designer who originally designed the Xhosa knitting patterns as a solution for amakrwala wear (for young men who have completed the initiation process) — opens its first standalone store in New York's Soho district on February 24.

2. The alleged collaboration between Lego, Hermes and Burberry went viral when it was revealed that this so-called collab was fabricated by an AI tool. As always with fake news, double-check that something is authentic (authentic is the authoritative Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year) or it could cost you dearly. The AI ​​tool should be tucked away somewhere in a corner of the page. 

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Looking for South African gifts

1. You can't have enough baskets. For the most beautiful woven baskets, containers, hats and homeware, look no further than Design Afrika which Binky Newman has run since 1995. The baskets are collected all over Africa. It's the first stop in South Africa for Milanese design curator Rossana Orlandi and other European designer stores.

2. Infused olive oils are the perfect gift for foodies, drenched in flavours such as walnut, mint and pecan. There's also a smoked range infused with with chilli and garlic or wild garlic and rosemary. African Oils and Vinegar's beautifully packaged, sustainable products are made without chemicals, preservatives or colouring agents and are sourced from growers across South Africa. Prices vary between R100 and R150 for a 250ml can.

3. Ash and Mill skincare products and soaps are delicious. At the top of our list is the packaged cold-pressed soap made from plant oils. The range comes in flavours such as lemongrass and peppermint or cedar and cypress. At R90 per cookie, packed in packs of three. There are also body butters and liquid soaps sold in laboratory bottles.

4. Chommies has the most beautiful dog accessories for the most beautiful dogs. They range from leashes and harnesses to collars and travel mats and are handmade in Cape Town. The products are inspired by the colours of African horizons. They're not cheap and prices range  from R450 to R2,500 — it just depends on how much you love your dog.

5. For all the plant aficionados, gift a bonsai tree or order your own and have it delivered to your door. also sells the exotic American and tropical pitcher plants and Venus fly traps. Also on our list are a bonsai starter kit and unusual Japanese ceramic containers.


1. Get Gotti, new on Netflix, is a three-episode series that tells the story of the rise and fall of the flamboyant but ruthless Mob boss John Gotti. It depicts Gotti as well as the skilled members of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies that apprehended him. It's also a history lesson about a notorious period of crime in America. The cat and mouse tale is related with the help of evidence that has not been made known before.

2. In The True Cost on Waterbear, directors and sustainability campaigners Livia Firth and Lucy Siegle investigate the drastic reduction in clothing prices in recent decades and how it was achieved through exploitation of people and the environment. The scenes vary from glamorous fashion parades to the dire conditions of garment workers in numerous countries. Food for thought about the people who make our clothes.


If you haven't read it yet, I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann is one of those books you can turn to again and again, especially when tragedy comes your way. It's a true story that takes place in Kenya and in which the most tragic circumstances give rise to an inspiring conservation project. The movie about the book, starring Kim Basinger, was a huge disappointment, but the book is precious.

Trend and health

Superfood: mushrooms

The “shroom boom" is sweeping the planet. Mushrooms are popping up everywhere — in burgers, skin care products and coffee. 

Health is the biggest reason for the increasing popularity of not only psychedelic mushrooms but also varieties such as dwarf shiitakes, oysters and chanterelles.

Scientists say mushrooms can improve brain health, digestion, immune function, recovery and longevity. 

They are considered a superfood because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and bioactive compounds.

An 11-year study of more than 24,000 American adults showed that people who eat mushrooms have a lower incidence of depression and that psychedelic mushrooms are essential for learning and memory. 

Another test on 663 seniors published in The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease showed that people who ate two or more servings of mushrooms a week had a 50% lower risk of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer's disease.

♦ VWB ♦

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