I came across the awesome brand Joe Blikzem, because one of my friends Jodie was wearing it a lot in her photos, and I was pretty curious. I vaguely remember the name from a few years back, but wasn’t sure. So it turns out that my old Crossfit coach has now taken over the brand and I am so stoked for him! I was so impressed with the product that I hopped on immediately and bought some vests! I’m a vest girl, not a fan of sleeves, so I got some of the men’s vests as well and they are SO comfy! I was super impressed with the service, I ordered late afternoon and they were at my door the following afternoon! The quality is awesome, the pricing is brilliant and the service is efficient! I am also obsessed with their tagline: Vat nie kak nie! Let’s have a chat with Jason Donnison about this epic brand!
Tell us a bit about your background in Durban?
I’ve lived in Durban for most of my life and I love it. For the past few years I’ve been involved in the fitness industry and it’s still something I’m really passionate about but I needed to try my hand at something different.
When did you start your brand?
I didn’t actually start the brand. It started in about 2010 and was really popular. For the last 12-18 months it’s been off the scene but we’re bringing it BACK!
Tell us about your brand
Joe Blikzem is a clothing brand with a bit of attitude. Every item has a story and the brand has a ‘personality’. We’re a brand that likes to stand out and as the tag line suggests, “Vat Nie Kak Nie!” (VNKN). There’s a bit of Joe Blikzem in every South African.
What is your favourite thing about your brand?
It is so South African! Everything is locally made, so its for South Africans, by South Africans. Most of our items have a very local theme because we love this country and try to celebrate it as much as possible, in our own Joe Blikzem way 😉
What would you like people to know about your brand?
Firstly that it’s BACK!
Secondly, how versatile our garments are. Everything is great as ‘everyday wear’ but something that people have commented on is how comfortable it is to exercise in. It’s an idea that we’re thinking about as we plan new ranges going forward so watch this space.
What do you love about living and working in Durban?
Durban is such an exciting city and so much opportunity has emerged over the last few years. There used to be this idea that there wasn’t much opportunity here and you had to go to other parts of the country for a real chance. I think that’s changed recently and there’s so much going on here nowadays.
How can people support you?
We have an online shop at www.joeblikzem.co.za and people can buy straight from there. They can also check out our Facebook and instagram pages. We’re always out and about in Durban so you can check what we’re up to from there and come and say howzit.
I have to get a confession out of the way, I raided your cupboards already. I took some shirts and a few other trinkets. I’m wearing one of them as a jacket today. Thanks, you were always the trendy one. I’m wearing your rings as well. They’re soon to be changed into something fabulous and fancy, as you would say. You’ll approve. We all know how you like to be fancy!
How am I meant to say good bye to you?
I’m literally asking because I have no idea. Sure, we knew it would be coming because you’re 93 and as much as you thought you were fancy, you weren’t no superhero or part of the cast of Twilight. I had told myself I was preparing for this since last year already, but when it comes down to it, it’s still a shock and doesn’t feel real. Even now writing this I’m thinking you’re probably ready to announce it’s tea time by asking me if I want some tea, and then I end up making it for us anyway. I see your stealth mode, very smart. Sneaky, but smart.
I think we’re going to see a decline in the Milady’s sales. You loved your new shirts and always exclaimed “Your granny is very hip!” Yes, you definitely were.
My favourite time, Selfie time. Gloria knew when I walked in the door I would make you do snapchat filters and selfies straight away. You would say no, but then fix your hair in the screen and pose. I don’t know how your loyal snapchat fans are going to deal with the withdrawals of seeing you with the latest filter on your face. I know I’m going to miss it. You have quite a fanbase judging from the amount of messages I received saying how sad they were that their favourite snapchat star had retired. And I quote “I fell in love with your gran on snapchat and I am so heartsore, not only for you but for me as well”. I don’t think I bargained on you being the star of the show, I created a monster. A cute, funny, loveable monster.
(I would show you all the videos but my mom and Ally aren’t fans. Gloria is though! Come see me after and I’ll show you outside)
You’re probably quite smug now knowing I have to take selfies alone. I guess when it’s the second sentence that comes out of my mouth after “Hello granny”, you came to expect it and perhaps your eye rolling was warranted. I think you secretly loved it though. Your protests were very short lived.
I loved our letter writing when I lived overseas. I was so home sick I would wait for those letters from you. There’s something special about writing and receiving a letter that just can’t be compared with. I’m going to go and get them out and start reading them again. I know they always ended with, “Your ever loving granny” and that’s just what you were.
Ever loving. Ever laughing. Ever smiling.
*** Update: I went through the first few last night and Nick and I were laughing so much he was crying. When I was homesick the first few months she proceeded to give me a talking to in her letters and basically told me to suck it up and also to stop shopping! She mostly told me what was going on with who and where and why. She was like a walking google. I definitely remembered them a little differently.
What a character you were. A Dame as you liked to call yourself. You were a cross between a Dame and a Queen in my eyes. So fancy. So royal. You loved to speak like a regal royal as well.
Teaching you to pout was one of my favourite things. That and making you stick your tongue out for pictures. Mom would be heard in the background “Don’t make her look ugly”, but you didn’t, you always looked cute. (I’ve got videos of that too)
I remember when you made Bruce and I matching gowns. I don’t know how he felt about wearing a matching Care Bears gown, but I loved it! Carla and I got matching clothes every time she came out from the UK. We were the cutest. I definitely got my sewing gene from you.
Your teeth. You were so proud to still have all of your teeth! I loved bringing it up just so you would go on a tangent about how most people your age don’t have any of their teeth, but you did because you looked after them and it is definitely an Elburg trait. This conversation went on for about ten minutes by the way. Very proud.
When mom and dad would abandon us to go overseas (abandon/leave behind) you would look after us. I don’t remember being too sad, because you always made it fun and it really felt like time flew. It could also be because they brought back amazing presents as well. But I really think its because we had the best time with you. Baking and sewing and having you all to myself. I loved every minute of it. I blame you for my sweet tooth, because you were the best baker and you taught me to bake. Let’s just say I’m glad I went into the field I did or I might be starring in “My 500 pound life”. Moving to Durban was the best thing my parents ever did for us, because it meant we got to live with you for the first year and then be 2km away from you for 28 years. Not many people can say that they were able to see their Granny every day or even every week!
I used to love popping in on my way past. I always knew I could tempt you out with the mention of a cappuccino. There’s not much you loved more than a good old cappuccino. You could be lying down in your pjs when I arrived and you had never moved quicker!
Up, dressed and in the car in 5mins. We would often go on our solo coffee missions on a whim. I think I might have even forgotten to call and tell mom once, and she came to find you missing and possibly thought you had made a run for it.
Things you loved: Cappucino. Apple crumble. Cake. I remember for your birthday this year you were sleeping in your chair. I lit the candle in the wicked donut, placed it on the table in front of you and somehow you were rising with an outstretched hand and about to pick up the whole donut and shove it into your mouth. I kept thinking, thats my girl! While also thinking, she’s going to swallow it candle and all! At least you had your priorities straight, sugar first safety second!
Rest In Peace my beautiful Queen Joan. My favourite person in the world (Sorry Nick) My best friend. My cappuccino companion. My baking teacher. My selfie partner. My “No I’m too ugly to be on camera” but poses anyway character. My heart. My soul. My everything.
I’m sure you’ll miss her snapchat and instagram stories as much as me!
I have to say this, I am so at peace with how I treated my granny, what I did for her since I left school and could drive, and just in general with regards to my time. That is all your loved ones want from you, TIME. I gave her my time and my love. I have zero guilt about the amount of time I saw her, and the things I did for her, because I visited more than once a week, sometimes 4 times a week! It is the best feeling in the world not having any regrets. It’s even better knowing that she knew that too and I know she valued the time I gave her.
If you don’t visit your grandparents or parents or siblings much, do it! You won’t regret it. That feeling is priceless and one that I highly recommend. It helps a lot in this time of extreme heart break and sadness. It is hard enough dealing with a huge loss, and to have regret and guilt on top of it would be soul destroying for me. So do it! Today!
Also, take pictures and videos. Take as many as you can. Even if your family try fight you on it, like she did, just do it because that is all you have left. I have a folder of 500ish items and I am so grateful for it.
Here’s a little video I made of my favourite Grannyisms:
I already miss her so much, but I am so glad I am about to breathe life into her wedding bands and have her with me every day.
Ok Durban, we always complain that nothing comes here, but now Pop Up Gym is coming here so rejoice!
Pop Up Gym is the brainchild of Khethiwe Mhlangeni and Letshego Zulu. It is the most amazing Pop Up Gym event, that I have been admiring on social media for ages, and now it is finally in Durban!
We always complain that we don’t get cool things, well it is here and we better support it or we won’t get nice things guys…
This once off event is taking place THIS Saturday at Suncoast on the Sundeck. It is from 8-12 and is going to be tons of fun! There will be workouts like kickboxing, aerobics and partner workouts. There will be awesome giveaways as well, including a R5000 goodie bag to a lucky participant on that morning. *I’m gunning for that!
What will you do with the kids you say?
Did we mention that you can bring your children as well? Incase you were worried about who is going to look after your little ones at the event there is a fun plan for them. They will be learning about their health and fitness the best way they know how to – with games.
LIV Village is found in the heart of Durban, and they are the most incredible organisation.
I had never been to LIV Village and I am so glad that I did! It is such a special place, and the children are so amazing I have asked to be more involved in the future. I believe everyone should go visit and see the amazing work that they do there.
We recently collected Easter eggs at our Easter Secret Sunrise and our fabulous Secret Sunrise family came through! We were able to donate to two baby homes as well as to LIV village. We also donated pre-owned running shoes from my Shoeperstars campaign and the kiddies were so excited! LIV village creates a safe home for 181 children right now. They pair children with a mom in their own home and together with 3-5 other children, they become a new family. The facilities they have are amazing. There is a clinic with a doctor, a dentist, a psychologist and an occupational therapist. They eat really healthy nutritious food, so their illness rate is drastically reduced as well. They have a school that ranges from Grade R to Grade 11, with the Grade 11’s becoming the first Matric class next year. They have started giving jobs to those in the communities surrounding the village, and have taught these people amazing skills. There’s a factory where they sew products, a welding school, agriculture where they farm veggies and moringa, LIV labels, LIV flowers, LIV culinary school and they are part of LIV cleaning as well! Sadly, recently, other members of the surrounding communities rioted and protested outside LIV wanting jobs. They caused enormous damage which is going to set back the village in their efforts to create more jobs for the community. It costs roughly R2 million a month to run this amazing facility, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably thought twice about donating because you have the misconception that they’re so well supported because they’re always on social media with sports stars etc. Only after I visited and spoke to Caitlyn about it did she bring it up that a lot of people think that, but their costs are so high.
They’re currently launching a £1 campaign where they’re asking people to donate £1 a month. That’s R20, the cost of a cappuccino. Doable right? I’m committing to donate R20 a month this year and I’m challenging you as well! If we can get 1 million people around the world to donate £1 a month, that would be their target and they can take in even more vulnerable children!
My whole feeling from being at LIV is that it is such a happy place! The kids are growing up in an incredible environment and to see how many kids are being helped is just heart warming.
If you’d like to shop online and buy their products check out their website here. I have had the coffee and it is really good! They also have amazing woven rugs in their store at LIV so pop in and support them sometime and grab a coffee at their coffee shop too!
If you would like to use zapper to donate anything from R20 towards helping them rebuild or support the kids then scan this code. You can also use zapper to donate monthly if you like!
If you’re more old school and prefer eft or online payments then you can donate here.
If you would like to donate anything to LIV for the rebuilding please feel free to use this Zapper code.
Have you been to LIV Village before?
I hope you’ll join me when we do our special Mandela Day Secret Sunrise event. We have launched the event on Facebook and you can find all the details here
Today is International Yoga Day and what better way to honour this day than to share my 30 day yoga journey! I had only ever done two yoga classes in my life, about 5 years ago, so I thought I would challenge myself to doing 30 days of yoga to see how my body responds. I am a weight training junkie. I loved crossfit and running and everything fast, so you must know this was quite a scary idea! I know for a fact that my hamstrings are naturally tight and that downward dog was going to be my nemesis, but I pushed on, literally.
I had heard great things about Tree Natural in Umhlanga and that they had a great unlimited package for a month. That sold me on this idea and I signed up! What really sold me on the idea was Dr Megan Medina. You know those two yoga classes I had been to all those years before? Well this were taught by Megan and I LOVED THEM! I loved them so much that I had never forgotten her name. I only stopped because I switched gyms.
I went bout 4 days per week, sometimes 5 when I could make it. I was challenged mentally as well as physically. The first night I was zonked! I wanted to go to sleep at 6pm! The same the next day, but after the third day I was already sleeping so much better than I was before. My body was clearly in shock, because it was doing things it had never done before. I found it amazing that I could deadlift 105kg’s but doing something as simple as triangle pose had me shaking uncontrollably.
I learnt so much about myself through this challenge. I don’t think we challenge ourselves enough. I think we like comfort, safety and the familiar. We don’t push the boundaries enough. We don’t respect our bodies enough to know that it’s got us, it can handle us, and it will always trust us. We just have to trust it back.
30 days of yoga taught me:
Yoga is hard
Yoga is not just about flexibility
Yoga can get your heart rate right up
Yoga works muscles you didn’t know existed
Poses look easy on instagram but are really really hard
Yoga works the body and the mind
I felt more calm and focussed during the day
I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much
Your body starts craving the movement
Your mind is less cluttered
Your body responds quicker than you think
You sleep so well
You are motivated to push a little deeper each time
You learn to love the guided mediation of the teacher
You start following yogi accounts on instagram
You want to be better
Your flexibility improves in one month
I must say, all in all I was very happy with my progress! I took some before and after pics to note the slight improvements. I was really happy to move from using blocks or a strap, to not. It really is the small improvements that make a difference!
There are those terrible hamstrings!
I was happy with my progress! Megan says rather have a bend in your knees to keep your back straight and not rounded.
Blocks are so useful and versatile! Start off with them until you are more comfortable in the poses.
Slow progress is better than no progress!
I found that my lower back was also tight, not just my hamstrings. When I first started cobra it was actually painful, but it is so much more comfortable after a month of loosening it up!
This really isn’t as easy as it looks! My balance was shocking and my lower back was very tight. I am still getting there slowly but I am way better off now.
Goddess squat is no joke! Blocks definitely help to keep you more upright at the start.
So rounded and bad form to start with. Thanks hamstrings! Megan said to bend the knees to get a flat back and what a difference it made!
I am so excited to keep going on this journey and get to where I want to be. I know that will take a long time, but I am really happy with the progress so far.
You can find out more about Tree Natural’s yoga classes here and find them on Facebook here.
How did you get into yoga? Do you practice at home or a studio? Are you taking part in International Yoga Day in any way?