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Inspiration, Lifestyle, Slider

Shelley Point – Our Magical Anniversary Get-Away

October 16, 2018

Eight years ago I married not only the most amazing husband, but also my best friend and the best human being I know! It hasn’t been an easy road, in fact it’s been really hard many times and I’m pretty sure hard times will keep on coming, but even so I can’t imagine my life without my person and the perfectly imperfect life we’ve built together.

To make those inevitable hard times a little more bearable when they do come around and so we don’t end up killing each other, we try to go away at least every year for our anniversary, just the two of us. It might seem unimportant or a waste of time and money, but it’s the small things that does a marriage the world of good! This year we decided to explore the West Coast and although we’ve been there many times before, there’s always somewhere we haven’t been yet and things we’ve never seen and done. To make this time even more memorable, we have an unspoken rule to never go to the same place. Last year we celebrated our anniversary together with the kids at Flora Bay along the Atlantic Seaboard, and loved it, but decided this year we wanted each other for ourselves again! I believe these times spent alone are pivotal to a relationship, especially after having kids.

I always wanted to go to St. Helena Bay, so we headed to Shelley Point the Saturday after our anniversary. We were lucky to find a room at the Mussel Cracker since we only booked that morning. When we arrived at the bed and breakfast later that afternoon we were met with the most gorgeous beachfront view and the friendliest host ever! Karen was all too happy to show us around her beautiful home and help us settle in before introducing us to the only other couple there, and who happened to get engaged that very day!

Since it was already late afternoon and dark by the time we’ve settled in, we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar downstairs where Karen recommended a nice little place close by we could go to for dinner and where we enjoyed the yummiest steak. Back at the beach house we helped ourselves to a Gin and Tonic from the fully-stocked bar and spent the rest of the night curled up on the porch, chatting under the stars, with the crashing waves our background music. We could not have chosen a more romantic place for our anniversary weekend.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to catch the sunrise (which we almost missed, mainly because the bed is so freakin comfy, but also Gin!), and strolled along the stretch of gorgeous white, unspoiled beach to the lighthouse where we took some more pictures. I totally fell head over heels in love with the magical Shelley Point. Karen also enthralled us with many lovely tales about the area – Early Spring brings with it the possibility of finding the rare paper nautilus if you’re a keen shell collector, and in Summer you can literally swim with the dolphins and hear the whales mate, which is only the most beautiful sound in the world! We will for sure be back to experience Shelley Point in every season.

 

 

The Mussel Cracker also has family rooms available for up to 4 people max and has been the venue of choice for many weddings!

53 14th St, Shelley Point, St Helena Bay // +27 82 823 0919 // karenc06@gmail.com

Click here to make your booking

 

Love,

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.