Lego is now art

    While Lego building bricks have delighted little kiddies (and those adults who just have not grown up) for decades, these much-loved construction toys will be captivating South African hearts and minds of the rest of us too, thanks to The Art of the Brick exhibition.

This phenomenal display, which is the work of acclaimed New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya, landed in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront in December 2014 and has extended its stay until Sunday, 22 March 2015 with 76 colourful, large-scale figures and portraits made entirely from tiny Lego pieces.

Voted one of the world's top 10 must-see exhibitions by CNN, the nomadic expo has already toured cities in North America, Australia, Asia and Europe, and is now in Cape Town (in Johannesburg from April 2015) to show locals how an ordinary game can be re-imagined as fine art.

The walk-through display, which will take up 1000m2 of the new Watershed building at the V&A Waterfront, includes everything from a 6m-long, 80,000 brick Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and multiple realistic human forms to interpretations of celebrated artworks, like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo statue. Some of the awe-inspiring 3D creations even make significant social commentary, and each one is simply perfect in proportion and scale.

The whole event is evidence of the remarkable talent of master creator Nathan, who gave up a career in law to play with Lego full-time, and it's also a tribute of sorts to an iconic children's brand that's both very familiar to all and also full of imaginative potential.

Source: Art of the Brick website

Lego art

Ultra-secure Quantum network

It has long been hoped that scientists will eventually come up with a way to store data in a state of quantum entanglement for the benefit of ultra-secure communications.

However, at present, such states can only be maintained for a short time before the entanglement fails. The Australian and New Zealand research team at Australian National University and the University of Otago have come up with a way to store data for hours, rather than milliseconds. This new breakthrough heralds the world's first solid state quantum hard drive with an improved storage time by a factor of more than 100.

The team's record storage time of six hours is a major step towards a secure worldwide data encryption network based on quantum information, which could be used for perfectly secure encryptions for banking transactions and personal emails.

It is believed it will soon be possible to distribute quantum information between any two points on the globe. Quantum states are very fragile and normally collapse in milliseconds. Quantum information promises unbreakable encryption because quantum particles such as photons of light can be created in a way that intrinsically links them. Interactions with either of these entangled particles affect the other, no matter how far they are separated.

The team of physicists at Australian National University and the University of Otago stored quantum information in atoms of the rare earth element europium embedded in a crystal. After writing a quantum state onto the nuclear spin of the europium using light, the team subjected the crystal to a combination of a fixed and oscillating magnetic fields to lock the atom's spin in place and preserve the fragile quantum information. The two fields isolated the europium spins and prevented the quantum information leaking away.

Their solid-state technique is a promising alternative to using laser beams in optical fibres, an approach which is currently used to create quantum networks around 100 kilometres long.

Source: University of Otago and Wikipedia.

Quantum harddrive

Healing powers of Lavender

The beautifully fragrant lavender plant is an asset to any herb garden and is probably the most popular herb of all. It has long been used to freshen the air in houses, and the Romans and Greeks added it to their bath water. In fact, its name derives from the Latin word "lavare", meaning "to wash".

Besides its prized aromatic qualities it is also used for domestic, cosmetic, culinary and medicinal purposes. It has been used for its sedative and antiseptic properties, as well as its insect repelling qualities for many centuries.

The most widely used varieties are English Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia and Lavendula Spica).


  • Lavender sachets can be hung in cupboards. Add 10 parts lavender leaves and flowers to 2 parts dried lemon zest and 1 part each of coriander seed, cinnamon pieces and cloves. Mix well, add lavender essential oil, and keep in tight container, shaking and adding more oils as necessary for two weeks, then fill sachets and hang.
  • Dried stalks of lavender can be placed on fires in winter to produce a lovely scent throughout the house.
  • Spread your drying washing over lavender plants to keep them sweet-smelling and fresh for longer.
  • Flowers can be used to make tonic water for delicate and sensitive skins, and it has an antiseptic effect beneficial to acne sufferers.
  • Added to white grape vinegar, lavender flowers are excellent in soothing aching legs, by adding the mixture to the bath or rubbed directly onto tired feet.
  • Lavender stuffed pillows aid sleep and will soothe and calm a restless child.
  • Lavender tea can be drunk to relieve headaches and exhaustion, and relieve anxiety.
  • Lavender makes an excellent mouth wash.
  • Finely broken up young lavender flowers can be sprinkled over a fruit salad.
  • Lavender is an excellent addition to marinades for game as it has the effect of tenderising tough meat. Wrap the meat in leaves and keep overnight in the fridge.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped leaves to a stew and braised meat dishes.
  • Lavender sugar, made by mixing 750g white sugar with 4 cups of lavender flowers on the stalks and then mixing them in the blender, can be used for baking and confectionery to add a subtle flavour.

Source: Margaret Roberts


Scrumptious Chateauxbriand

After an body exerting day on the ski slopes of Leukerbad, Switzerland and a muscle relaxing hour in the thermal baths, the best way to finish off the day would be for a culinary treat that is so good that it cannot be passed up on.

The perfect place in the Leukerbad area for this treat is the upmarket Waldhaus restaurant, just a short walk from the Torrentbahn and the thermal baths. The entrance to the restaurant and hotel has moved away from the traditional Swiss chalet wooden style architecture, and has embraced more contemporary modern design elements with the use of stone and glass and steel. A vintage car is showcased behind a glass wall, alluding to the complimentary mixture of old and new, and while the hotel itself still has the old Switzerland charm, it is hidden behind this inviting modern facade.

The entrance to the restaurant encourages patrons to enjoy a warming sherry outside on the lounge couches before moving into the restaurant for the evening meal. A modern firepit is lit every night during the winter season and is warm and toasty. Blankets and shawls are available to keep the chill away.

On entering the restaurant, the owner and hostess herself is professionally welcoming and warm, and is attentive and friendly during the evening, and the staff are just a professional, informative and friendly.

But even though the starter dishes are well presented and a very tasty way to start the culinary experience, the highlight of this restaurants menu is definitely their chateauxbriand. Cooked to perfection for a few hours, (this meal needs to be booked in advance), and then perfectly carved in front of the patron, the meat is smooth, moist and melts in the mouth. A delicious treat to be savoured, not just for one main meal serving, but for a second delicious melt-in-the-mouth carving and serving.

For more information on the Waldhaus Restaurant, Leukerbad

Waldhaus, Leukerbad, Switzerland

Hot News

This weekend!!

Design Indaba is on this weekend (27 February - 1 March 2015) at the CTICC in Cape Town.

Experience the best of African creativity in a showcase of high-end African design, exhibiting the homegrown wares of all the creative sectors under one roof.

Featured Plant

Strelitzia Reginae

Strelitzia Reginae
(Bird of paradise)

Family :


Description :

Shrub up to 2m with showy orange and purple-blue flowers on long stalks.

Flowering time :

Almost all year roundr

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Frost resistant
  • Wind resistant
  • Well drained enriched Soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Design idea feature

Design idea feature

Finish off the corners of your deck in an unusual pattern. The traditional herringbone pattern canbe very neat and will bring a sense of interest to the edging of decking framing a focal point.

Design idea feature

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Varigated Thyme

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    January's Teaser Answer :
    "Escalating costs"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82