Try this skin-saving cocoa and coffee mask

Beauty aficionados have been raving about the beauty benefits of cocoa and coffee lately – and when I tell you why, it’ll all make perfect sense!

When you use cocoa and coffee in combination, they brighten up your complexion, wake up tired eyes, decrease puffiness in your face, and even treat breakouts!

No matter your skin type, the cocoa and coffee mask recipe I’m sharing with you is sure to work wonders for you. I just love this mask because it’s simple to mix up, and only requires a couple of kitchen cupboard ingredients.

Cocoa and coffee are the staples of this chocolaty mask, but feel free to tailor the recipe based on your skin type and the ingredients you’ve got in your kitchen. For dry skin, add full-fat yoghurt. For oily skin, add lemon juice. Try it out!

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Cocoa and coffee mask recipe

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (your basic Nestle Cocoa works fine)
  • 4 tbsp finely ground coffee beans or espresso (instant coffee works too if you don’t have
  • your own grinder)
  • 8 tbsp dairy product (such as heavy cream, plain yoghurt, whole milk or nut milk)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey

How to make the mask:

  1. If you’re using whole coffee beans, finely grind them in your grinder. Make sure they’re super-finely ground so that they don’t scratch your skin! If you’ve just made coffee, you can use the freshly brewed coffee grounds. They just won’t contain as much caffeine (and your skin loves caffeine!)
  2. Combine the coffee with the cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  3. Add in your dairy product of choice and stir until you form a smooth paste. For a thicker paste, use less dairy.
  4. In a separate bowl, warm up the honey in a warm water bath or in the microwave, then stir it into the concoction.

How to apply the mask:

  1. Use your fingertips to apply the mask to your clean skin. You can use it all over your face and neck.
  2. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes or until dry.
  3. Wet a facecloth and press it onto your face gently to loosen the mask, then rinse the mask off with warm water.
  4. If you’ve got sensitive skin, avoid rubbing your face – the coffee grounds could potentially get scratchy!

You can store the leftover paste in your fridge for up to three days.

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This peppermint mocha protein shake is the best post-workout drink ever!

This creamy, protein-packed post-workout smoothie combines two of my favourite things: Chocolate and coffee! And the addition of the mint leaves give the drink a refreshing flavour that I just adore. Enjoy!

 

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Peppermint mocha post-workout protein smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • Stevia to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, garnish with additional mint leaves if desired, and drink immediately.

Top ten to-dos in Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is one of my favourite places in Cape Town. It’s such a unique and charming little town, don’t you think? I just love the eclectic mix of artsy people, cobbled streets, historic buildings, excellent restaurants, bohemian bric-a-brac shops, vintage bookstores, art and antique galleries and colourful fishing vessels! The next time you take a drive out to the South Peninsula, stop by this quaint little suburb – it has so much to offer! These are my top ten favourite things to do in Kalk Bay.

 

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#1: Have coffee and a croissant at C’est La Vie

C’est la Vie is a gorgeous little French-inspired café right opposite the Dalebrook tidal pool – one of the four tidal pools in Kalk Bay that are safe for swimming. Go here to enjoy excellent coffee, raw juices, fresh croissants and artisanal bakes. It’s the perfect place to pop into after a brisk walk along the seaboard or simply for a long, lazy breakfast!

#2: Enjoy classic fish and chips at Kalky’s

Edwin and Liz Rosslind’s large, casual cabin-like restaurant right on the harbour quay offers the best fish and chips on this coastline! The battered hake and chips is a dish to-die-for – but then again, the calamari, kingklip, yellowtail and prawns are divine, too. A waitress shouts out your order number when your grub is ready and you then tuck in at your plastic-covered table, or head over to the harbour’s edge to enjoy.

#3: Indulge in fine wine and seafood at Live Bait, Harbour House and Polana

These three sea-facing restaurants, all in the same building and owned by the same group, offer top-notch wine and seafood for a stylish and sophisticated dining experience. The building towers over the bustling fishing pier and boasts the most incredible panoramic views of the mountain and sea. Be sure to take a walk along the pier after your meal – the sea spray and salty air is a simply wonderful tonic!

#4: Go shopping at ANPA Jewellery

ANPA Jewellery is the most divine little contemporary jewelry design shop that offers bespoke pieces. Whether it’s a statement necklace or a delicate ring you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something that wows you! The jewellers combine rare, high-quality gems with gold and silver the make the most exceptional pieces. Other materials they use include leather, silk, African Blackwood and even peacock feather.

#5: Get artsy at The Potter’s Workshop

The Potter’s Workshop has the most stunning ceramics, pottery and glazes from famous local ceramicists on offer. It’s something quite awe-inspiring! Pick up something for to decorate your home, or take home materials to make your own. This place is certainly any artsy girl’s haven!

#6: Unleash your inner booklover at Kalk Bay Books

This little bookshop offers the most spectacular sea views in the country… If not the world! It’s a gathering place for booklovers to browse and buy books. The store also regularly hosts book launches and discussions, in which case locals scramble for a place on the plush leather sofa with a glass of red wine in hand. If this sounds like your thing, pay them a visit!

#7: Sip cocktails at Brass Bell and La Parada

Sea views and great cocktails are a match made in heaven… And these two local hotspots offer just that! What’s more, is you can also expect delicious tapas as well as the most spectacular mountain backdrop at both of these laidback establishments. I’d recommend either one for a late boozy lunch or a relaxed romantic dinner.

#8: Tuck into a breakfast, lunch or dinner special at Olympia Café & Deli

Olympia Café & Deli has got to be the most popular eatery in Kalk Bay! The rustic café is well-known for its home-baked breads and pastries, as well as a blackboard of breakfast, lunch and dinner specials that change daily for when you’re on a budget. Don’t leave without visiting their bakery shop, which is behind the red door around the corner, to buy a flaky pain au chocolat or a freshly-baked ciabatta!

#9: Treat yourself to the best ice-cream at Ice Café

Right opposite the train station is one of the most amazing little ice-cream parlours in Cape Town – yup, it’s Ice Café! They have the most delectable ice-creams and sorbets on offer. I’m still dreaming about the raspberry-rosewater with toasted almond ice-cream I had the last time I popped in there!

#10: Watch a play at Kalk Bay Theatre

Kalk Bay Theatre is a unique and intimate little 72-seater theatre, which was once a historic church. They stage excellent plays with a special supper club experience, giving a real sense of community to the area. On Tuesdays, they offer a two-shows-for-the-price-of-one deal. Score!

This is the healthiest blended iced coffee ever!

Most mornings, I’m faced with a terrible dilemma: Do I sip my morning smoothie while I get ready, or do I drink a cup of coffee to wake up? Coffee usually wins, I’m afraid.

 

However, studies have shown that eating within an hour of waking up make the most of your metabolism and curb your appetite, making you less likely to make poor food choices later in the day. And that’s where this super recipe comes in…

 

It tastes like an ice-blended coffee drink, only without all the fat and sugar. Instead, it’s packed with vitamin-rich spinach (it’s got more iron, magnesium and potassium per cup than the “it” green – kale). It also contains almonds and banana for a creamy, filling breakfast that serves as your first cup of coffee, to boot. Enjoy!

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Coffee almond green smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 5 ice cubes
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 whole raw almonds
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • Honey or agave nectar to taste

Method:

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend on high-speed until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

A cinnamon cup of coffee can curb your sugar cravings

It takes a while to acclimate to the bitter taste of black coffee. Even once you reach this level of coffee-obsessed, it isn’t always appealing. Skip the cream and sugar, and instead satisfy your craving for something sweet with this cinnamon-enhanced recipe.

 

Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants, and is flavourful enough to tap in for your usual packet of sugar.

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How to make a cinnamon cup of coffee

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp fat-free milk

Method:

Mix the cinnamon and milk into your cup of coffee.

Tip: For a foamy treat, froth the milk first.

Top five “coffices” in Sandton

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want to stay away from the office and work from home. Or, even better, a coffee shop! I just love being out and about. The idea of working around other young professionals in a vibey environment with a good cappuccino in hand sounds like a dream to me. Last week, our generator was playing up during load shedding hours and I got to work from a smoothie bar below my office. I was so happy!

I have no idea who coined the term “coffice”, but the criteria for it are simply WiFi and coffee. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been exploring different coffices in Sandton. I find it funny how the vibe at all the spots I’ve been to is completely different during the week compared to over the weekend! And, it turns out there are far more people in Jozi who work from home than you might think. Anyway, I’ve narrowed down a list of the best coffee shops to work at in Sandton – here it is!

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#1: Deli One

Deli One is the perfect stop situated inside Sandton City. The super-trendy and upmarket deli offers a big selection of coffees, breakfasts, baked goods, salads and Mediterranean-inspired mains. I could sit there all day sipping on their decadent crème brûlée latte (R28) or frosted mocha mint coffee (R38)! I must also mention that they serve up the most divine eggs benedict with either ham (R68) or smoked salmon (R88).

SHOP L01A, SANDTON CITY, SANDTON

#2: Gia’s on Montrose

Gia’s is a real hidden gem in the middle of Sandton! The family-run coffee shop is nestled in a lovely, luscious green garden on Montrose Nursery’s property. They serve great coffees as well as scrumptious breakfasts and lunches! If you pop in, be sure to try their creamy chai latte (R24) and a freshly-baked croissant (from R32). It’s the perfect place to work outdoors while listening to the birds sing and taking in some fresh air!

66B SOUTH ROAD, MORNINGSIDE

#3: Contessa

If you’re a tea enthusiast, you’ll just love Contessa! The cosy, decorative little tea shop offers a large selection of white, green, black, fruit, herbal and flavoured teas. Seriously, darlings, you’re spoiled for choice here! Their strawberry and mango infused tea (R28) is just heavenly, and so is their classic English breakfast (R72). Not much of a tea drinker? Not to worry – they offer a big selection of coffees, too.

2A, 11TH AVE & RIVONIA BOULEVARD, RIVONIA

#4: Dylan’s Restaurant

Dylan’s is of one my favourite local spots – it’s so warm and welcoming! It’s a popular place to work from in Sandton, and for good reason! The staff are always so friendly, and the location is very convenient. Everything I’ve tried on their menu so far has been fantastic – from the Nutella croissant (R50) to the vegetable tramezzini (R70). Their coffees are fabulous too! The caramel latte (R25) and rooibois cappuccino (R22) are two of my favourites.

12TH STREET, PARKMORE

#5: The Green Peppercorn Bistro

If you’re a sucker for presentation like me, you’ll love The Green Peppercorn. Anything you order here is sure to be beautifully presented! Plus, the vibe is laidback and cheerful, which is perfect for work. All the dishes they have on offer are exquisite – I especially love their salmon and spring onion scrambled eggs (R65) and tempura vegetable wrap (R60). In terms of coffees, they have everything from lattes to cappuccinos.

MORNINGSIDE SHOPPING CENTRE, MORNINGSIDE

How to make pour-over coffee in four simple steps

Have you been wondering about the pour-over offerings at your local coffee joint? It takes longer to make, it costs more… So why would you order it?

 

Experts say that this method – which involves slowly pouring hot water over a single serving of freshly-ground coffee – results in a better-tasting brew because the water-to-coffee ratio is exactly right, unlike in the standard drip. And when you do it pain-stakingly right, the pour-over is supposed to help extract flavour more nuances of your favourite means.

 

If you want to try pour-over, try this easy method at home!

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The easiest way to make pour-over coffee

#1: Grind the coffee

The easiest way to do this is using a hand-crank grinder. This way, the coffee comes out better, and there’s something satisfying about grinding it by hand, don’t you think? Plus, you’ll get a quick little arm and shoulder workout in – no joke! If you want, you can skip this step and use pre-ground, or make it quicker by grinding your beans in an electric grinder. Your choice.

#2: Transfer the coffee to a filter

You can use whatever kind of filters you like. I use paper filters. I find that coffee takes “cleaner” with paper filters than with plastic drippers. Once the coffee’s in the filter in the cone, give it a little shake to even out the grinds.

#3: Heat up the water

Do this while you grind up the beans. Here’s where I deviate from the die-hards – a true coffee expert would tell you to use a special kettle with a thin spout for precise pouring. I just use my regular kettle; the same one I use for tea. I also often skip the step of warming up the cup.

#4: Pour over

It’s time to brew! Pour in just enough water to wet the ground coffee, then let it stand for a minute. This allow the grounds to “bloom”, resulting in more coffee extraction for the rest of your brew. After the bloom, continue pouring, a bit at a time (just cover the grounds; don’t fill the filter all the way) until your cup is brewed.

Then, fix it however you like, and enjoy!