Here's an admission that I think is pretty unusual.
When I pick holiday dates for South Africa, I try to maximise my timings - (well, that part is obvious: to include weekends on either side, or bank holidays, so you probably think that's not that much of an admission) - but what I mean is I try to maximise my timings to fall across two onsale dates for my favourite South African magazines.
Missed a birthday? Sorry, maybe next year.
Can't make a christening? Sorry, but will send gift.
Changed my flight to make sure I'm in the country for both September and October issues of House and Leisure?
South African shelter mags are the best in the world.
I'd fight anyone who said it wasn't so. Probably because South African taste has come on quite far from what was expected: colonial charm in tropical KZN, heavy leather furniture and game skins in the Bush, too-cool-for-skool red leather in Joburg.
We're at a point where we have learned to celebrate our crazy mix of Afrochic, European heritage meets African Renaissance, a muddle of Cape Malay and traditional cultures sitting up against the largest Indian influence outside of the subcontinent; all against a backdrop that is demanded by a muddle of tropical climes, genteel wine farms and harsh desert environs, from bush to beach, savannahs to uKhahlamba (the mountain range named the Barrier of Spears) - and the modern day requirements of the most friendly, hospitable nation on the planet - requiring lots of outside entertaining space.
So when I was last in SA, I picked up the House and Leisure supplement where viewers had to vote for their House of the Year 2011. The winner was in my top 3 - what do you think?
that birdcage? ba-na-nas
That velvet sofa under that chandelier, in the bathroom?
I don't even know which element makes this room rock.
The space. The height. The vintage French furniture on screed floors? The headboard? The sconces? The chandelier?
Back to that conservatory....
It would be hard to concentrate on the dinner conversation when all you want to do is gaze at the pressed ceiling, apparently imported from Canada. Not sure why since old Melville houses are reknowned for their pressed steel ceilings. Still, I'd take it.
I'm so going to show you that bedroom again: