UMHLANGA LIFE - THE ONLINE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Win Tickets To Decorex Durban 2019



It’s that time of year again.

Image courtesy: Decorex SA


Diarise the dates for Decorex Durban now!

Africa’s largest décor, design and lifestyle exhibition portfolio will extend the continent’s influence on global style with the first instalment, Decorex Durban, taking place at the Durban Exhibition Centre from 21 to 24 March 2019.

“Decorex SA is taking ownership of its role as a leader in décor this 2019 through our inspired theme, ‘Designing for Africa – feels like home’,” explained Sian Cullingworth, Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions. “All three shows will reflect the unique African essence of the individual province, with these varied styles all grounded by one undeniable fact - this is home. Visitors to Decorex Durban will be the first to experience this soul-replenishing theme through the numerous features and trends all curated by the region’s best designers.”

True to the Decorex brand, the 2019 exhibition programme boasts a number of inspired new installations which will speak to the upcoming trends. Some of the key features include:

Decorex Trend House 
InStudio Trend Theatre
Children’s Playroom & Décor Project
The Lighting Project
The Kitchen Trend Project
The Bathroom Project
The Design Project
Wine & Champagne Bar
The Secret Gin Garden
Global Trends
Rum & Beer Bar
StreEATERY
The Mint Café
The Wine Tasting Cellar
1-Day Pop-up Market

Visitors can also look forward to the latest design, build and lifestyle products from innovative trade leaders, working alongside Durban’s most dynamic artists. In addition, stylised restaurants and bars will be located throughout the exhibition space, offering quality food and drink menus.

Don’t miss out on the ultimate décor exhibition, Decorex Durban. Book your tickets now at www.decorex.co.za


Decorex Durban
Decorex Durban
21 – 24 March 2019
10am – 6pm daily
Durban Exhibition Centre
Trade-focused day: 22 March 2019
Ticket Prices:   Adults – R95
                        Student/Pensioners – R85
                        Kids U12 – R20
                        Trade – R85
                        Exhibitor – R85

For more information, email decorexinfo@reedexpoafrica.co.za
Visit: www.decorex.co.za         
Facebook: Decorex SA
Twitter: @decorexSA  
Instagram: @decorex_sa
LinkedIn: Decorex SA                  

The good folks from Decorex have given us 5 double tickets just for you. To get your hands on them all you have to do is answer this easy question:
Where will Decorex Durban be held this year?
Send your answer, name, email and contact details to umhlangalife@gmail.com
Good luck!
Giveaway closes on 15 March 2019.
Ts and Cs apply.


This edition by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

5 Tips To Help You Find Love This Valentine's Day


Digital Oxytocin, Does Your Business Have It?



The Love Hormone & The D.O Effect

Oxytocin. Now there’s a thing. A powerful human hormone that caps as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It’s arguably the most popular of hormones in the neighbourhood, because it triples up as the bonding hormone, the trust hormone and the security hormone that keeps your relationship pretty much on the V.I.P list.  

The question is: does your business do the same? Digital Oxytocin, or fondly dubbed as The D.O Effect, is an instant user experience that benchmarks the initial bonding stage between consumer and brand. Just like the “love hormone” of the brain, Digital Oxytocin is the chemistry responsible for attracting your audience, exciting your audience and making your audience stick around for more.  

When it comes to designing websites, an ‘exceptional digital experience’ should be Number 1 on your strategy list. Getting your D.O levels correct in business, has everything to do with amplifying the user journey online, and focussing on human behaviour as the brand goal towards delivering a compelling brand-consumer relationship.

The D.O Effect is a guaranteed game changer, and can be divided into 5 superior impact
touch points that will help you land the ‘love’, first time round.

# 1: Know What They Want: Intuitive design is real my friends. Knowing what your audience wants before they do is not a skill, it’s a design strategy - and it could save your bottom line. Intuitive design is quite simply, a matter of meeting your online customer’s needs seamlessly, without an interrupted experience. The idea of answering all your customer’s questions before they ask, is D.O gold. Ask yourself: what is the task and can my customer complete it effectively? 

# 2:  Don’t Make Them Work for It: If you’re running a ‘bookings’ business, for example, and your objective is to sell as many tickets online in a short space of time, make it easy. Simple = Satisfaction. You’ll want to tell your user what to buy, what it looks like, why to buy it and how to buy it in a few easy taps. Airline and Accommodation brands like travelstart.co.za and Airbnb.com respectively have improved their D.O Effect for now, with an easy-flow experience that makes browsing pleasurable, the price-compare experience simple and ensures the user feels secure and at ease from check in to check out.   
  
#3: Don’t Talk “Responsive” On the First Date: Or the second date. Or the third. Sadly, the term ‘Responsive Websites’ in business, has become as misunderstood as finding true love on the first swipe right. “Responsive Websites” means cross-screen compatibility – NOT necessarily cross-screen user-journey. The proverbial ‘cookie cut’ desktop approach is a fail in web design. Just because your site is ‘responsive’ across mobile or tablet devices doesn’t mean it meets the needs of the user. The truth is, you can’t have a responsive website without a memorable user journey. They need to exist together. If you want your customer to land on your website and stay, then your aim should be to have a ‘mobile first’ strategy in mind from the get go, to support your ‘responsive website.’

Consider this: if there are 3.7 billion unique users online globally (as at Jan 2018) and 49.7% are attributed to webpage viewing then you cannot, cannot, cannot purely rely on desktop stacking your website design. Design your website with a compelling mobile user experience in mind, FIRST – a design strategy that mirrors the same intuitive experience across all devices.

# 4: Spice It Up: Digital seduction is a key design strategy for Digital Oxytocin effectiveness. How to keep your user from straying? A. Your overall web design should be simple, balanced and aligned to your brand CI. B. Choosing a typeface that is easy on the eye and has a clear weight hierarchy is also must. C. To increase your chances on the D.O circuit, make sure to include visual imagery and video too. D. Whatever you do, DO NOT include  User Interface Animation (U.I) just because you think it looks or sounds cool. Nobody likes an “over-tryer”! Make sure U.I is only created for the purpose of enhancing the user experience, and not just for art’s sake.

# 5: You Have 3 Seconds. Go.: Quality, sex appeal and good conversation pretty much sums up the Richter scale of relationship “wants”.  Your brand has to present the same – and it only has 3 seconds online to determine whether your customer stays or strays. Your landing page should load and lure in your user within a 3 second speed span – telling them promptly that they’ve landed in the right place. Too much guess work on this one and you’ll risk losing them to Joe Soap in the adjacent tab. With an average of 200 ads being served to a user per day disruption is the new digital disease, and makes for a highly competitive landscape to play in. We recommend keeping your 3-second game plan strong.

SO….

Don’t let your plans of www domination stop at design. All things considered, the user journey should be high on the objectives list when it comes to strategising in the online space. Get your user to cuddle up to your brand by marrying form, functionality and intuitive strategy. It’s a non-negotiable. Your business just can’t afford the shortcomings of a negative user experience. Talk to So Interactive, a respected and seasoned digital studio based in Johannesburg, about your place in the market and establishing the touch points that will move your brand forward with Digital Oxytocin.

For more info visit: www.sointeractive.co.za 

Media Enquiries: Jacqueline Freer (info@jacquelinefreer.com)


#DigitalOxytocin 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fresha Festival 2019 Is Fast Approaching


The Fresha Festival of free fun family al-fresco theatre will be staged for the third time on Durban’s North Beach at the end of the school holidays for three days on 18, 19, 20 January.



Full Programme
The 2019 programme and performance details are below.
Opening Procession
Friday 18th January, from 5 pm:
Join us for an hour of strange and unusual happenings to kick off the festival. A taste of the weekend to come.

Yoga
Sunday 20 January & Sunday 21 January: 7 am - 8 am
Join us at 7 am to salute the sun! An easy open yoga class for all ages and all levels. Bring your own yoga mat or towel to sit on.

Free, open dance classes
Saturday 19 January: 8 am - 9 am: DanceXercise 
Sunday 20 January: 8 am - 9 am: Zumba class
No matter how many left feet you have - join us for a fun, free class to get the year started on the right foot (or the left one).

Get involved!
Sunday 20 January & Sunday 21 January: 9 am onwards 
On Saturday join in with Mzansi Arts Development Ensemble for a workshop on creating art out of waste.  Join Gerard O for a masterclass in street performance on Sunday:  whether you are an aspiring actor, comedian or just want to entertain yourself - come and explore the mad world of this acclaimed Dutch performer for an hour.  Free of charge.  All day every day, add your wisest bit of advice from your favourite song in our open art exhibition: Advice from Songs. Inspired by Swiss Artist Marcus Kraft and his work - PopMusicWisdom.

Missing
Performance Art
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 1 pm
Thought-provoking, uncomfortable, yet beautiful to watch.  Concept and performance by doung Anwar Jahangeer.

7 Chairs 
Street theatre
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 1:20 pm
A simple act with 7 chairs and 7 actors who expect that something will happen. Presented by Ithubalabasha Arts.

Gerard O
Street comedian
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 1:40 pm
Dutch street comedian, Gerard Olthaar has performed at festivals around the world. Back at Fresha for the third time , anything can happen!

Tran(ce)sitions 
Contemporary Dance
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 2 pm
Sizwe Hlope presents an outstanding work exploring the ties that bind and ropes / umbilical cords / railway pathways / roots.

The Goal
Street theatre
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 2:20 pm
On the pitch and off the pitch. Women versus men - the eternal game of courtship without the usual rules.  Umlazi Arts Academy.

Promises
Street satire
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 2:40 pm
When politicians promise rain on Fridays, no more dying, and more love for all; who can we trust? Who do we vote for?  034 Drama.

The Thing about Wolves
Puppets 
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 3 pm
A delightful collaboration between puppeteers from the Handspring Puppet company and the Mahlekahlathini Mask & Puppet Players.

Cats and the Curse
Dance
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 3:20 pm
When two boys are cursed and turned into cats they have to fight to win the heart of a beautiful girl. Zamokhukhanya Productions.

Street Mime
Mime artist
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 3.40 pm
Sibo Masondo delights kids and adults alike with his gently observed comedy and perfectly timed mime.

Old skool vs new skool
Street Dance
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 4 pm
Award-winning choreographer Jarryd Watson and his dance troupe from the Wenthworth Arts Organisation present all the tricks and kicks of street dance.

Love is stronger
Physical theatre 
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 4.20 pm
In a society where we can be killed for who we love, maybe love can be stronger than death.

Look up 
Aerial act
Saturday 19 January & Sunday 20 January at 4.40 pm
The amazing entertainers from Innov8 gym wow us way up above the ground.

Sundowner Showcases - Live Music
Join us for live music on the Bay of Plenty lawns to dance and watch the sun go down.
The South Jersey Pompoms 
Saturday 19 January at 5pm 
Sassy & sharp, slightly Burlesque and joyously off-kilter; these happy rebels  bring you their catchy tunes performed in German, French,  Italian, English & Spanglish.
Zulu Blue and La Canta Rosa
Sunday 20 January at 5 pm 
An awesome collaboration between a wonderful Afro-blues outfit and an opera quartet. Think Busi Mhlongo with a touch of Puccini and a little bit of Miriam Makeba!


For more info, visit www.freshafestival.co.za.. Find Fresha Festival on facebook and @freshafest on twitter.

All festival events are at the Bay of Plenty lawns, North Beach and are free. There is a tent for rainy days, so come down whatever the weather!

This edition by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review of Emirates Fine Dining Event


A few weeks back I was invited to a very special event. It was the Emirates Fine Dining Event held at Osa Restaurant in the luxurious Fairmont Hotel at Zimbali.



We were treated to a variety of cuisines that you can expect on an Emirates Flight. Regional Catering Manager of Emirates Chef Ravi Nage treated us to some delectable treats. Some savoury and some sweet. There was so much to choose from you almost did not know what to sample.

What you can expect on an Emirates flight. 


The food was exquisite and a taste excursion.

Chef Ravi Nage giving us a food demo

Award Winning Chef Ravi Nage first gave us a food demonstration and showed us what goes in to each meal.

The Durban Bunny Chow


‘’890 items go into each cycle of food prepared.  We use regional ingredients connected to that city,’’ said Chef Ravi Nage.

For those wanting to become a Chef he gave this sage advice:

‘’For me a plate is a palette,’’ whispered Chef Ravi Nage.



Each meal we tasted certainly filled us up and this was echoed by Chef Ravi, ‘’ We want the passengers to be full,’’ said Chef Ravi.

During his food demo he made us some chicken curry which we could taste afterwards and I have to confess it was quite delicious. Melt in your mouth kind of deliciousness.

Sweet treats 


At the end of the banquet we were treated to Desserts of Gulab Jamun and Rasmalai which were as sweet as they looked. For those of you that have a sweet tooth these are both recommended.

You would certainly enjoy both of them at 40 000ft. on an Emirates flight.

Interesting fact Emirates serves more than 110 million meals year.

Below is a tasty menu item courtesy of Emirates:

Murgh Tikka
(Succulent and boneless marinated chicken)

800 gms boneless chicken cubes
Butter for basting
Marinade
50 gms yoghurt
40 gms ginger paste
40 gms Garlic paste
3 gms White pepper powder
3 gms Cumin powder
5 gms Mace, nutmeg and green cardamom powder
3 gms red chilli powder
3 gms Turmeric
60 ml Lemon Juice
20 gms Gram flour (besan)
Salt to taste
75 ml Groundnut oil

Whisk the yoghurt in a large bowl add all ingredients, except the chicken and mix well. Rub the chicken pieces with the marinade and keep aside for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F

Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes and baste with melted butter.

OR

Skewer the chicken and cook on a barbecue grill.

Serve hot with a wedge of lime and sliced onions, cucumber and fresh mint.

It might make a great meal for the festive season.

Emirates offers connections between Durban and India, with over 180 flights to India every week. A daily flight links Dubai and Durban, as well as four daily flights from Johannesburg to Dubai. To book, or for more information, terms and conditions, please visit https://www.emirates.com/za/english/ or visit the local Emirates office or your travel agent.

A big thank you to Emirates for hosting us at this event.


This review and photography by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Review of BON Hotel 64 On Gordon


This month I was invited to review the BON Hotel 64 on Gordon in Durban.



This hotel is part of the BON Hotels group. As the name states 64 on Gordon is situated at number 64 Gordon Road in Durban. This is quite centrally situated close to Florida Road and also Windermere Centre. If you like walking you should easily be able to do the walk to Moses Mabhida Stadium, Suncoast Casino and of course Durban Beachfront. From there you can grab a People Mover to get to Ushaka Marine World.

If you need to get to the ICC or Musgrave Centre you can grab a Uber or get a Mynah bus which you can catch near Windermere Centre or in Florida Road.
If you like the night life then head on over to Florida Road which has a variety of restaurants, clubs and entertainment. For coffee lovers Starbucks is also in Florida Road. Just saying.

Now that you know what is nearby I’m sure you want to know about the hotel.



The hotel features that old world charm and you will quickly fall in love with it. Featuring bright red steps and red doors you cannot miss it.  The staff are friendly and happy to assist with any queries.
The hotel room we stayed in was clean and fresh. It features a comfortable double bed with enough room for 5 people. Soft pillows, air conditioning, tea and coffee station, bathroom with all that is needed. A refreshing shower when you need it. The hotel room also has a work station which is great for those business travellers. If you need a break you can always step out on to the balcony and sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. Due to the huge amount of trees around the hotel you can be assured of a rich supply of oxygen.

The room also features a TV with DSTV and for tech lovers you will be happy to know that the hotel features complementary WIFI. Just ask the receptionist for your pin.

PL8 is the hotel restaurant and this is the place to go for some tasty food. Breakfast is served from 6h30 – 10h30. Lunch is served from 12h00 – 16h00. Dinner is served from 18h00 – 21h00.



The night we stayed there I had the Sirloin Steak with chips and salad for dinner. It really was well cooked and tasted delicious.
My partner had the hake fillet with chips and salad. I had a bite and it melts in your mouth. A feast for your tastebuds.



For breakfast the next day we had a selection of their fruit salads, yoghurts, cereal and their omelette which features a variety of fillings. We had onion, cheese, bacon, mushroom which tasted amazing together. Compliments to the Chef on the mushrooms they tasted great. Various fruit juices are on offer and of course bottomless coffee. 

The hotel also features a conference room which can have up to 30 people for a small conference or meeting. They have some great specials at the moment for conferences. 



The hotel also has a loyalty programme called BONami. You get 20% off of nominal rates and 5% off at special rates as well as up to 50% dining discounts at most of their hotels. You also get a voucher booklet worth R16000 in free accommodation and meal vouchers and more for a once-off payment of R600. Now that is what I call value for money. You can sign up at reception.

Useful Info:
Address: 64 Gordon Road, Morningside, Durban.
Telephone: +27(0)313128907 or Central Reservations: 0861 266 222

Look out for their specials at: https://www.bonhotels.com/64ongordon/specials

For those of you that can’t get to Durban the Bon Hotel Group also has hotels countrywide and even in Africa.

Rating: Highly recommended


Review and Photography by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton