10 things we could (and should) learn from the Japanese

IN TIMES OF CRISIS, THIS IS HOW A SOCIETY SHOULD ACT.                                                           [Actually we should be acting like this all the time] 1. THE CALM Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated. 2. THE DIGNITY Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture. … Continue reading

#alien adventures: So was it worth flying to London for dinner?

So the big question is, was it worth flying to London for dinner? The quick answer: Yes it was. 30 international press – a mix of South African, French, Indian and British – had been flown into London for dinner and the launch of the Vanessa G luxury label. We were accommodated at The Dorchester, … Continue reading

What it’s like to have a chauffeur in London

So this whirlwind trip to London has been somewhat of an out of body experience – a classic alien adventure – but not unpleasant I must add. The full Vanessa G experience (which why I am flying to dinner in London)  starts when I landed in London and being met by a personal chauffeur. No … Continue reading

Flying to London…for dinner

There’s a delicious smugness when you can say, “I’m flying to London…for dinner“, and that’s just what I’m going to do tomorrow night. Well, it’s not that indulgent, I’m staying to see a fashion show as well… This indulgent alien adventure comes courtesy of one Vanessa Gounden, a South African businesswomen who has always had … Continue reading

Out damned spot: the surreal world of beauty awards

There is a classic scene in Absolutely Fabulous where Patsy has to make a rare appearance at the office for an editorial meeting with the other magazine editors to determine themes for the next issue. Although she can’t quite recall where it is, she eventually finds it. {sidenote: if you are too young or have … Continue reading

The Getty Garden: a registered work of art

On a recent trip to LA, I had the pleasure of visiting the Getty Centre. Perched on a hill near west LA, it has a 360 degree view of la la land – and I was there on a miraculously clear day. The building itself is an architectural wonder and is built from the same … Continue reading

French lessons at a Buddhist temple

The reason I call this blog “Alien Adventures” is that – besides my rather odd provenance: gay, Chinese, fashionista who grows up in the Calvinistic hot-spot of Pretoria during the dark days of apartheid – I seem to continually find myself in similarly odd situations. It just happens and I’ve stopped questioning why? On a … Continue reading

Recreate at Design Indaba

My favourite pick at the Design Indaba Expo not only embraces the trend for upcycling, but also reinvents iconic South African objects or craft, with innovation and a humorous twist. [“Upcycling” is the process of converting waste materials or seemingly useless products into new materials or products, of better quality or a higher environmental value. … Continue reading

Detox hallucinations

Coming off a week long detox – no caffeine, no alcohol, no meat, no carbs, no fun…just steamed veggies – it is understandable that my thoughts revolve rather obsessively around food: preferably something greasy, fried or with refined sugars and no nutritional merit. The ghosts of croissants past visited me this morning, along with their … Continue reading

Hotel for vampires?

So when I was at the Design Indaba, I stayed at one of the many “boutique” hotels in Cape Town. It was in the upmarket suburb of Fresnaye. Convenient, stylish, but like much of the touristy side of Cape Town, once you scratch the veneer, there is substance lacking. My room looked swish enough – … Continue reading