Lifestyle, Slider

Family Winter Getaway Along the Garden Route

July 18, 2018

When Lesley and I recently decided to take the kids on their first holiday along the Garden Route, we underestimated a few things. First was how excruciatingly long the drive to Victoria Bay is with three kids, which is where we were spending most of our weekend away; and second was how excruciatingly short a weekend away really was! What were we thinking?

We left late Friday morning and the drive was pretty awesome for the most part.  The kids always enjoy driving through the Huguenot tunnel just before Worcester, and driving through beautiful valleys such as Robertson and Swellendam (where we’ve been with the kids before when we visited the faerie sanctuary there) made the drive a total joy.

It’s where the N2 began to stretch out its long, endless, though beautiful, road before us, that the kids started asking the dreaded four-word question – are we there yet? Underestimating how long the almost five-hour drive would be (if you include the stops in between), also meant we didn’t prepare them well enough other than telling them it was going to be a very long drive. But in the end, it was nothing a few yummy snacks, the best views, and tabtales couldn’t fix.

We arrived in George just after three in the afternoon. We got a few more snacks, drinks and braai meat from the local mall and continued further on to our holiday destination, which we only then discovered lies up a steep hill – something else we didn’t expect. This holiday was turning out to be full of surprises.

The road to Ballots Bay Nature Reserve took us across a railway and descended quite steeply to the river.  We then crossed over 2 small bridges before ascending very steeply up the side of the hill to the security gate controlling access to the Private Nature Reserve. It wasn’t too bad with our little Honda, and we’ve seen SUV’s making it up and down there with ease, but I certainly won’t risk it up there with a trailer.

When I say it’s a hidden gem, I really mean it’s HIDDEN! There’s no doubt if you’re looking for a break away from it all that this is the ideal location.

The kids LOVED every minute, and when we got to our mountain lodge, none of us could believe our eyes! We were right on top of the Victoria Bay hills surrounded by nothing but forest and ocean. We had our own private beach at Ballots, but the kids preferred going out to Victoria Bay instead where they could be around other people. I didn’t complain, because Victoria Bay easily ranks among my top favourite beaches.

The Saturday morning, excitement was high and everyone was up early because it was the day we were all going to see REAL elephants for the first time! We drove up to The Knysna Elephant Park from George (another hour away) and had a blast walking among, feeding and touching the elephants. It was also interesting to hear about the humble beginnings of the KEP from our guide, and how far it’s come to build such a loving home for these gentle giants. The tour was both fun and educational, and definitely an experience of a lifetime.

The Sunday Morning after breakfast, we were ready (not ready) to take the long road home, but not before spending the beautiful, sunny morning at Victoria Bay beach for the last time. We were still in the heart of Winter, but it felt like a perfect Summer’s day. It was barely ten in the morning and the beach was full of people swimming and surfing and tanning. It wasn’t easy to leave, and much less easy to make the kids leave.

On our way home, we stopped at Mossel Bay for lunch and found the most picture perfect spot on the decks of Delfino’s. We had the best time eating and relaxing, while the kids played in the beach park and the tidal pool. Like in Victoria Bay, there were also lots of beachgoers soaking up the sun in Mossel Bay. Everyone we’ve spoken to told us what a crazy Winter it’s been on the Garden Route, and that this was the most perfect Summer’s weekend they’ve had throughout. We were very lucky it seems, and grateful too.

Our weekend may have been way too short, but at least we’ve found the perfect spots for when we visit the Garden route on our next family vacay.

Love,

Entertainment

2018 Jive Cape Town Comedy Festival

July 14, 2018

Last night was my and Lesley’s first time at the Jive  Cape Town Comedy Festival and what a treat for the tummy muscles!  The annual comedy festival has been running successfully at the Baxter theatre for the last fourteen years and has been a steady platform for many local comedians who went on to become international sensations – including, the now world-famous, Trevor Noah. As you can imagine it was a night full of roaring laughter and a 2.5 hours well spent with the funny man himself, Alan Committie, as the host. No seriously, this dude is funny as hell, and could easily have stolen the whole show if it wasn’t for Rob Van Vuuren’s rant of his first time on the metrofail…I mean metrorail train, or Tats Nkonzo’s recollection of the “tot of bal” game he was taught ( I still have no idea how this game goes because I was laughing too much), or Marc’s usual dramatics on politics and Ashwin Willemse.

Not only is the Comedy Festival worth checking out for its obviously brilliant lineup, but you will also have the opportunity to interact and support the okes over at the Zip Zap Circus, who help, inspired and educate kids from all backgrounds, in the arts. How amazing!  If those are not reasons enough to come out and cheer up your winter blues, you can also look forward to being spoiled with amazing discount vouchers from City Siteseeing and Table Mountain Cableway, so you and your kids can explore Cape Town like tourists, but more affordably. Much, much more affordably! It’s also a great way to make up to your kids for leaving them with grandma while you and hubby went out on a date night to the funny festival!

Needless to say, we had an amazing night of laughter (and good wine and food). I encourage you to go out and support our local and international funny guys and girls. Get your tickets here

 

Rated PG 13 // 9 July – 5 August // 8pm // R190pp //  Main Rd, Rondebosch, Cape Town

 

Yours in laughter,

 

Books/Movies, Inspiration, Slider

2018 Franschhoek Literary Festival

June 1, 2018

I’ve always wanted to go to the literary festival in the Franschhoek valley, I just never got around to it, and then finally decided this will be the year!

There honestly couldn’t be a more perfect town to host the festival with its picturesque beauty. Franschhoek is home to many historic buildings, no-doubt telling stories of their own, and blowing new life into these historic buildings every autumn, are the many interesting book discussions with acclaimed authors, and live performances by other local and international artists throughout the long-weekend.

In the wine valley of Franschhoek you can sip on anything from a merlot to champagne while taking it all in on the green, lush lawns.  You’ll be delighted by the rows of quaint coffee shops, boutiques,  restaurants, and art galleries while strolling down the main road painted brightly with Autumn leaves. This fille française also has no shortage of grand guest houses, and provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city life for locals and tourists flocking to the valley year after year.

For our stay we chose the gorgeous Val d’or Estate Country Guest House to be our home away from home, and received a warm and welcoming reception from our hosts. The rooms are modern, cozy, spacious and the entire place just downright gorgeous. We really couldn’t fault a thing.

The Franschhoek literary festival is a wonderful opportunity not only for authors and artists to interact with the public and promote their wonderful work, but it’s also a great way to encourage reading in both young and old.

Until we’ve seen more of our youth get involved, it’s not fully achieved its goal yet.

 

For more information about the Festival, and to get involved, email Sheenagh at help@flf.co.za


As always, I’m leaving you with a few pictures taken by my talented husband, photographer, and my muse.

 

 

Yours in books,

 

Entertainment, Inspiration

Indoor Entertainment So Fun, Kids Won’t Know They Are Learning

May 26, 2018

If kids can’t play outside due to bad weather, it’s tempting to just plop them in front of the television and let that be their day, but kids need both physical and mental stimulation for healthy development. Of course, our children don’t want another day going over the same kind of lessons they do all day at school. However, I’ve put together some fun indoor activities to trick them into learning.

 

Playing Real Estate

Kids love activities where they get to use real-world applications and pretend they are adults. A great sector to tap into for these kinds of activities is real estate. Real estate is a complex field that requires skills in math, science, English, social studies and home economics. By incorporating real estate-based lessons into your curriculum, you can help students gain valuable skills in practical math application, presentation giving, forming a persuasive argument, earth science and so much more. Plus, learning about the real estate market is the kind of real-world knowledge schools just don’t pass along. From decorating a room to playing Monopoly, there are plenty of ways to incorporate real estate into your rainy-day activities.

 

Experiment with Household Objects

If you are looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon without having to run to the store for materials, there are tons of awesome kids’ science experiments you can do at home with common things you likely have lying around. For instance, this rainbow magic milk experiment only requires whole milk, dish soap and some food coloring for fun. You can teach your child all about the miracle of molecules and chemical reactions, but they’ll also love how much fun it is to swirl and mix the colors in their solution.

 

Online Art Lessons

Both kids and parents alike have to love visual arts. Not only are they a great medium for creative expression, the arts have plenty of developmental benefits for children. Young children develop fine motor skills and coordination while older kids help fine-tune their concentration and focus. While you may not be a Bob Ross yourself, you can encourage your children’s artistic endeavors through online art lessons that help them create beautiful images. Have your kids do at least one art lesson then let them have free time afterwards where they can use the skills they picked up in a new way.

 

Fun with Music

The melodies and rhythms in music have a way of catching a child’s attention and creating interest in a subject he would otherwise not care about. You can find all kinds of fun lessons that incorporate music online. From sing-a-longs that teach a foreign language to animated stories that spark the imagination, there are tons of options for younger kids. Older children can also try out learning to play an instrument with online lessons that teach them the basics. If you play an instrument as well, join them in their practice to encourage their development while providing an awesome opportunity for bonding.

 

Yoga for Kids

Yoga has boomed in popularity over the past couple of decades for a reason. In an increasingly hurried world, yoga forces us to slow down, breathe and listen to our bodies. Showing your child some yoga lessons for kids online can teach them about mindfulness techniques while improving flexibility and balance. Best of all, yoga is appropriate for kids of all ages from 2 to teens.

 

Being stuck inside doesn’t have to be a drag. You can entertain kids on bad weather days with the help of educational activities. Not only will you help pass the time, but also you will positively contribute to your child’s development.

 

Guest Writer: Jenny Wise
Jenny Wise created Special Home Educator as a forum for sharing her adventures in homeschooling and connecting with other homeschooling families.

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Slider

Why moms are just so freaking fabulous

May 24, 2018

I always say it – moms are freaking fabulous! But why do I feel so strongly about this?

If you know a mom or are one yourself,  you know exactly what I mean. Just like anyone else, many of us moms have full time jobs we do not necessarily love, but we stick it out, not only for ourselves, but our families.

Besides our “role” as governess, we have hobbies, dreams, desires that we often sacrifice, not because we lack the ability, but in pursuit of spending more time with our family. We would love to go to the gym every day so we too can look like those perfectly-figured moms we ogle during drop-off at school, but Saturday mornings are just so much better staying in bed with a cup of coffee (and that’s okay!), especially when the kids have been fighting for our attention since 5am. So instead, we give our best attempt at working out at least every other week or so.

Life is BUSY. It’s INSANE! And being a mother is a mammoth task. What really puts moms above the rest, though, and the reason I believe moms are so fabulous, is our innate and superhuman ability to just get shit done! Life throws many things at us, sometimes all at once, and random people constantly ask us how we do it – our answers may vary from vague to in-depth, from surety to uncertainty. The truth is really way beyond our comprehension and the answer is WE JUST DO!

Whoever told you being a mom is easy was lying and needs a good smack, but one thing’s for sure, if ever they should do a test on the ultimate depth of human endurance, motherhood will be the benchmark.

 I often suck at being a mom. Every day I learn something new about myself and it’s not always pretty, but then I remind myself that I am my own person with my own set of attitudes and my actions are not determined by my past or the mistakes of my parents. Think of how the caterpillar one day transforms into the most beautiful butterfly – this is what happens when you become a mom. A brand new you, for a brand new journey ahead. 

So, there are plenty of reasons why I believe moms are fabulous – one is how selfish we sometimes are. We know when to take time out and take care of ourselves, because if we don’t take care of ourselves, how are we going to take care of our children? We often have thriving careers, are students, and are completely aware that our kids are watching our every move so we try really hard to be half-decent humans.

Follow your dreams, mom!

Go on that anticipated holiday…without the kids!

  Go to the gym!

And go have that coffee with the friends you always disappoint with a “next time”!

Keep the spark alive in the bedroom and keep loving hard!

We are fabulous and fearless women. It’s what makes us moms so fabulous. It’s in our DNA. 

Till next time,