From Milan fashion to an easy pizza dough


From Milan fashion to an easy pizza dough

Trends from Italy and New York inspire the Fomolistas, as do must-read books and movies and the healthy lifestyle of Japanese women.

  • 01 March 2024
  • Lifestyle
  • 6 min to read
  • article 13 of 18

Quote of the week

If you see me talking to myself,
Just move along,
I’m self-employed
We’re having a staff meeting.

@jdemsey (Instagram)

Trends: the latest in fashion

Inspiration from Milan

Milan has just had its autumn and winter fashion week. For the Fomolistas, this is the best place for trendspotting (hello, it's Italy):

  • Colours: moss green, butter yellow and lots of white, from soft, fluffy, ragged textures to snow-white faux fur.
  • Cropped open-button or turtleneck sweaters or sweaters with hoodies, over and with your clothes — for new, interesting lines and unpredictable proportions.
  • Bra cups forming part of the dress design.
  • Clothing that upsets, unsettles and distresses — patched clothes that unravel, sleeves that come undone, stitches, seams and hems on the outside, stockings with runs.
  • All these fashions naturally provide social commentary on the planet, consumer habits and needs, and should be seen and enjoyed in this light.

Trends from New York

  • Colours: chartreuse and vermilion.
  • Bubble skirts with short socks and boots (Taylor Swift-style).
  • Peekaboo pants and even boots (with holes) — reminiscent of the Mary Quant champagne and music vibe of the 1960s.
  • Oversized scarves tied loosely around the head, shoulders and body and dragged behind you on the ground (English Patient-romanticism).
  • Checks in all kinds of voluptuous combinations, for example with translucent material — Vivienne Westwood-zen.
  • Headgear in all its variations.
  • Oversized puffy sleeves, almost like swellings (the Fomolistas prefer to keep their peace about this trend).

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One of the handiest kitchen implements is a skimmer. You can get one cheaply from most Chinese shops. We bought ours at Takealot for R188. Brilliant to fish veggies, pasta or eggs out of water.

Anneliese Burgess has two books on her radar this week. The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee looks at Italy's history through its citrus fruits. Combining travel writing with history, recipes, horticulture and art, it takes the reader on a rich journey through Italy's cultural, moral, culinary and political past. R275 at Takealot.

Then there's Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick. We found the recommendation at (by the way, this website is highly recommended). Award-winning journalist Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over 15 years — a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim II-Sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick shows what it means to live under a repressive totalitarian regime. R379 at Loot.

Two cheap and cheerful favourites from the beauty aisle. We love Dr. Paw Paw Lip Balm. It can also be used to add a pop of colour to your eyes, lips, and cheeks, but most of all it is brilliant for lips (and cuticles). R79.19 at Clicks. It comes in various shades and flavours.

And then we are superfans of Palmer's Body Lotion. It is the holy grail if you have dry skin. And at this price, you can really slather it on after your bath or shower. R85.99 for 400 ml at Clicks. We are partial to the coconutty-smelling original Coconut Butter formula. But the Raw Shea version is also fabulous. We love the smell but mainly the fact that it's not oily and sinks into the skin quickly, leaving it smooth and moisturised.

Big little recipe

An easy pizza dough


The Reader (with Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet)

It is number nine in Netflix's top 10 most popular movies. It's fiction but still offers a new perspective on the dehumanising World War 2.

While Germany is in its post-war reconstruction phase, the teenager Michael Berg starts a relationship with Hanna Schmitz (Winslet), a bus conductor who is much older than him. She moves away without informing him and breaks his heart. As a law student at Heidelberg University, he is bitterly upset when he attends a trial where his lover is on trial for murder because she sent hundreds of Jewish women to their deaths.

It is also about a generation of Germans who after the war saw the light about the atrocities committed in the name of their homeland. The movie fascinates from start to finish.

We give it a 9.

The Holdovers

This comedy-drama (2023) by Alexander Payne has been nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, best original screenplay and best actor (Paul Giamatti).

An unsavoury instructor at a New England prep school stays behind during the December holidays to look after students who have nowhere to go. Highly unlikely bonds are forged between the instructor, a brilliant problem student and a cook who recently lost her only son in the Vietnam War. The film is currently free on YouTube.

We're keeping our fingers crossed for Giamatti for the Oscar. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 97%. Us too.


“There’s no time to despair" — the editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, in an interview on Sam Fragoso's Talk Easy podcast.  

Remnick talks about covering the Middle East, his time as a correspondent in Moscow, his approach to his editorship and journalism in general — plus his obsession with Bob Dylan.

A wonderful, enlightening conversation (and a masterclass in intelligent interviewing). Do not miss it!

This is the Spotify link, but look for it wherever you listen to podcasts.

Did you know?

# 1 Years ago, before he made a breakthrough in Hollywood, the Oscar-winning actor and screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton was the South African band Jack Hammer's trumpeter. This according to Piet Botha's website.

# 2 Canada is one of the top five countries where South Africans emigrate. The others are the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. According to Luke Fraser of BusinessTech, 51,590 South Africans live in Canada.

Most live in:

  • Toronto, Ontario — 13,165
  • Vancouver, British Columbia — 9,005
  • Calgary, Alberta — 3,590
  • Edmonton, Alberta — 2,595
  • Hamilton, Ontario — 1,590
  • Ottawa, Ontario — 1,335
  • Victoria, British Columbia — 1,245
  • Montreal, Quebec — 770
  • Kelowna, British Columbia — 770


Japanese women are generally not overweight and age gracefully. We went looking for the reasons why:

  1. They drink plenty of green tea — full of antioxidants and nutrients.
  2. They consume fermented foods — microorganisms like bacteria and yeast feed on sugar and starch.
  3. They consume a lot of seafood.
  4. They eat small portions.
  5. Walking is a ritual.
  6. Eating on the go is frowned upon.
  7. Home cooking, using healthy cooking methods like boiling and steaming rather than frying, is still widely practised. Rice and vegetables are staples.
  8. They practise martial arts.
  9. They regularly visit hot spring baths.
  10. Healthy desserts are favoured — like fruit and sweet beans low in sugar, or mochi.
  11. They spend a lot of time in nature.
  12. They commute to work by walking, cycling or standing up in trains.
  13. A universal healthcare system — everyone is completely covered.
  14. Regular social gatherings. People love to eat together.
  15. Disciplined skincare routines. Getting rid of dirt with an oil cleanser is standard practice in Japanese beauty regimes.
  16. Wasabi, Japanese horseradish, is widely used to add flavour to food and has many surprising health benefits.
  17. The Japanese word for happiness is ikigai. Iki means life and gai means worth. The focus on purpose and self-worth is a powerfully positive way of approaching life.

Lekker weekend.

♦ VWB ♦

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