Naked, vacuum-sealed couples: art or just freaky?

At first glance this ad campaign might remind you of erotic asphyxiation. But there’s much more to these images of naked, vacuum-sealed couples than just sex. It really is more about love than anything else.

Japanese sex shop Condomania has released its latest series of ads showing couples arranged in vacuum-sealed futon bags, which stayed closed for 10 seconds at a time. Closer than could be, they were snapped by famous Japanese photographer ‘Photographer Hal’, who explains his inspiration for this shoot as follows: ‘Human beings aren’t completed if they’re just by themselves. It’s when they come together, when they come really close, that they’re finally completed. That’s why I pack them together.’

Photographer Hal originally started shooting couples in this way for a photo series called ‘Flesh Love’.

What do you think of this series?

Bartholomeus Klip. Stay here, trust me

Located on a working farm and game reserve in the Riebeek Valley, but an hour’s drive from Cape Town, sits the long-standing establishment that is Bartholomeus Klip. The delightfully cosy main house guesthouse has few rooms and lots of charm – a true five-star stay at its best. Rooms with names like ‘Disa’, named after flowers provide ample rest with luxury everything. From the king-sized bed, slippers and robes and wooden furniture to the Victorian-style shower with unique toiletries scented with surrounding fynbos like wild rosemary. Families can also stay comfortably at the Wild Olive cottage.

Arrive late afternoon for high tea of scones, milktart, a variety of teas and other epicurean delights. Sit in the luxe lounge while the crackling from the fireplace warms your feet and hands. Proceed to hop onto a safari-style gaming vehicle at 4pm for a nature drive – the afternoon drive leaves at 4pm and the morning drive at 8h30 after coffee, rusks and fruit – as you sit in awe of the 10 000 acres of the vast nature reserve and towering mountains that surround the area. Expect to see herds of black wildebeest, Cape zebras, a rare plant or ten, wild flowers and herbs and perhaps even a strikingly patterned geometric tortoise crossing the road.

Arrive back at the farmhouse for sundowners around 6pm of MCC and roasted nuts as your prepare for the four-course dinner already wafting in the air.

The dining room looks like a greenhouse of sorts with its clear glass; and the food is lovingly prepared from local produce. The soft candlelight makes for a very romantic setting in this white-tableclothed room. Attentive staff serves you wine from the region – a spectacular wine list for sure, including A.A. Badenhorst and Diemersfontein wines. Patrons can also choose to enjoy their meal with a pairing of wine chosen by the sommelier.

The set menu changes with the seasons. For winter, start with Haddock risotto with celery, potato skins and microherbs, followed by a light roasted butternut, parmesan soup with rosemary crumbs. The main is elevated home-style cooking at its best: pork fillet, browned potato gnocchi, burnt leeks, Dijon mustard and lemon juice sauce and an unforgettable onion jam. Finish off the meal with an expected gastronomic delight in the Carpaccio of pineapple topped with mint sugar, which covers vanilla crème cheese. Phenomenal!

Wake up to a breakfast of fruits, cereals, cold meats, salmon, cheeses, and freshly baked pastries. A full English breakfast can be ordered, along with hot toast and muffins, and a selection of delicious home-made preserves.

One of the best country/farmland stays you’ll find in South Africa for sure.

For contact details go here:

The thigh gap: today’s ultimate fetish?


Today, everyone seems to be talking about ‘The Magic Gap’ video on niche site, Nowness, shot by fashion photographer and director Guy Aroch. This is part of the website’s #DefineBeauty series – spotlighting the different aesthetic tropes surrounding body image. The video features models Gigi Hadid, Chanel Iman, Alyssa Miller and Elsa Hosk (well, their thighs in fact) in various settings in New York City. The audio of the video is a series of comments made by NYC passers-by on what they thought a ‘Magic Gap’ was, many not having the faintest of ideas.

The video shows a series of slow-motion close-ups of thigh gaps and crotches, revealing the ‘fetishisation’ of this relatively new standard of beauty. It’s disappointing that the video never steps back to ask why we have glorified the gap between women’s thighs – instead it sexualises and romanticises it; leaving those of us who don’t have one feeling pretty glum and left out.

If you scroll through Instagram under the hashtag #thinspo or #thighgap, you’ll see the magnitude of the adoration. This online ‘reality’ is a completely biased representation of women – skinny, fat and everything in-between. Thighs, in most cases, touch. For those genetically gifted women, who received the ‘gift of the gap’, that’s great. But if it has to be achieved through rigorous exercise and starving, then, maybe, not so much. But as points out: ‘There are plenty of thin women whose thighs touch and that’s okay.’

‘Engagement hand’ surgery on the rise

Yes, you guessed it: it’s so that women can take better selfies! More and more women are now having ‘engagement ring selfie’ surgery.

Brides-to-be in the US are allegedly spending up to $1 200 on a ‘hand lift’ treatment, which uses the well-known facial filler Juvéderm, to ‘restore and replenish lost volume in the hands. Is this because fiancées are feeling the pressure to look younger on Instagram?

This trend, to put it mildly, depresses me. Growing older gracefully seems to be dead. Dead!


Elliot Rodger’s misogynistic ‘Day of Retribution’ for girls who ‘starved [him] of sex’

You may have seen the hashtag #YesAllWomen going viral on Twitter over the past few days. This past weekend, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger shot and killed two women and then himself near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in what he called his ‘Day of Retribution’ for girls who ‘starved [him] of sex’. As a reaction, women have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #YesAllWomen to talk about the everyday dangers of being a woman in a still-misogynistic culture. Many discussed broader social patterns of patriarchy and discrimination in society.

The young killer reportedly emailed a 141-page document explaining his motives to a few dozen people, including his father, Peter Rodger, assistant director on The Hunger Games trilogy.

‘For the last eight years of my life, since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, never to me.’ In it, he warned he would execute a ‘Day of Retribution’, in the form of a war on women.

His document apparently displays the ramblings of a disturbed young man; with his intention to purify the world, and ridding it of sex by eliminating women or putting them into concentration camps.

There hasn’t been a large-scale anti-women sentiment like this since the École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989, in which a young man killed 14 women in a crusade against feminism and feminists.

Something in society desperately needs to change. We need to confront sexism, and the #YesAllWomen hashtag is a great start. We also need to understand how dangerous it can be when people are socially marginalised – with no feeling for others and no brakes on their lonely actions.

Boutique stays in beautiful Paternoster

Paternoster, the oldest fishing village on the West Coast is dotted with white-washed houses and beach cottages – a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town. This town has certainly stolen my heart ever since the first time I set foot here one lazy afternoon to have lunch with friends at the renowned Gaaitjie – a salt water restaurant on the beachfront. Over the last few years this quant Greek-style village has become an upmarket destination, catering to foodie tourists seeking lux hotels and guesthouses and something a bit more upscale than humble fish and chips. The area now features various exquisite eateries and boutique hotels. Here are two of the best:

Abalone House & Spa

Abalone House & Spa is a five star boutique hotel. Greeted with a glass of bubbly at the door, the attentive staff will cater to your every need.


The colourfully decorated reception area and luxe rooms all have a laid-back homey feel and the courtyard features a tranquil pool. Relax on the upstairs deck, sip more Krone pink bubbly and snack on feta and olives, while lounging in the hot tub overlooking white sandy beaches and the serene surrounds.

Dine at the hotel’s very own Reuben’s by acclaimed chef Reuben Riffel. Try the chilli squid to start, lamb with turmeric mash and curry jus for main and a rich chocolate pavé to end. They also have an extensive wine list, featuring some of SA’s best. Then onto delectable Eggs Benedict for breakfast with piping hot coffee, followed by a trip to the in-house Healing Earth spa – the African Shea Butter Massage is out-of-this-world amazing, intoxicating smells.


Phone: 0878205974

Paternoster Dunes Guest House

Do not miss a stay at the four star Paternoster Dunes Guest House. Small and very exclusive, its individually decorated luxury rooms open up a mere stone’s throw from the beach.

Enjoy an afternoon glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc on the terrace as you take in the sea air. Paternoster Dunes features an intimacy lounge and cocktail bar, a small but eclectic library and solar heated pools in the courtyard. After sleeping in one of the most comfortable beds, wake up rested and indulge in a scrumptious continental buffet and hot breakfast.

Be sure to stop by the Beauty Clinic for facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, tinting and deep tissue massages.

Phone: +27 (0)22 752 2217

Originally posted on Marie Claire