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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,

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,

Entertainment, Lifestyle

Easter Holiday Hacks to keep the kids busy

March 28, 2018

The Easter Holidays have arrived and children across the country are celebrating, no more school for two whole weeks! Meanwhile, moms across the country are waking up in a cold sweat. No more school for two whole weeks!

 If you’re a mom, unless you plan ahead, the common childhood complaint of boredom will haunt you these holidays.

Blue Horizon Licensing, exclusive representatives of Mattel Consumer Products in South Africa, was kind enough to share with us their five easy and totally fun Easter holiday hacks to help keep the kids busy.

1)     Host a Barbie picnic 

Summer is drawing to a close, so take full advantage of a sunny day by hosting a Barbie-themed Easter picnic. Let your little girls invite a couple of friends over, tell them to dress in Barbie pink, and bring their favourite Barbie dolls to join in the fun. Spread a blanket on the lawn, bring out the Barbie tea set, and roll in the Barbie Food Truck. Complete the picture with a couple of jugs of water (or pink milk, if you’re feeling brave!) and a selection of real biscuits.

This picnic combines imaginative play, allowing the kids to order their ‘food’ from the truck – select from hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza slices and a variety of ice creams – with water play, as they pour and drink their ‘tea’. Water play is especially good for toddlers, helping to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. It is also regarded as one of the best starting blocks for building Maths and Science skills, introducing them to concepts such as empty, full, half full, and – most likely – spillage (As a bonus, give them some cloths, maybe they will learn to clean up after themselves too!)

When the picnic draws to a close, surprise them with an impromtu Easter Egg hunt in the garden. You’ll be the most popular mom on the block!

2)     Build a Hot Wheels rally track

Nothing entertains children quite like toy cars, so why not host an outdoor Hot Wheels rally championship? This season’s hottest Hot Wheels includes a selection of bikes, monster trucks, drift cars and mini quads – perfect for outdoor terrain.

Build a traditional track using the Hot Wheels track builder, but encourage the kids to expand their play into the garden, using sand and mud to create their own rally courses. Up the ante by introducing Hot Wheels Light and Sound Master Blaster or Hyper Racer, or blast into turbo speed with the remote control Nitro Charger.

Sand and mud play is widely recognised as one of the joys of childhood, not only because the kids are actually encouraged to get dirty, but also for its open-endedness – there really is no limit to what kids can build, no right and wrong, and no end to the entertainment. While some kids simply enjoy the sensation of playing with mud, others will relish the opportunity to build intricate tracks, with obstacles constructed of sticks, leaves and stones. Just remember to dress the kids in old clothing – this game is bound to get dirty!

3)     Throw a Slumber party

Chickens aren’t the only animals that lay eggs this Easter – Dinosaurs do too! So why not throw a Barney-themed slumber party? If the kids are too young to sleep over, suggest a ‘sleep under’ – where they come for early evening dinner and fun, but go home to sleep in their own beds. Tell the kids to bring their own Barney, you supply some Barney coloring books and colouring crayons, plus a couple of Barney floor puzzles that they can all do together. End the evening with a selection of Barney DVDs, filled with music and fun that kids simply can’t resist. Love him or hate him, Barney holds a special place in the hearts of all children, teaching them kindness, manners and the value of good old fashioned fun.

4)     Ten Pin Bowling: Barbie vs Barney

Ten pin bowling is all the rage these holidays, perfect for either indoor or outdoor play. And with the Barney Bowling set and Barbie’s Pinktastic Bowling set, you’re all set for a nail-biting Ten Pin tournament. Purple vs Pink. Barney vs Barbie.

Ball skills are another vital building block in childhood development, teaching hand eye co-ordination, motor skills and timing. Hosting a friendly tournament is also a great way to introduce young children to competitive play, teaching them the joy of winning, but also the inevitability of losing, and the importance of being a good sport, win or lose.

5)     Take the kids shopping

Shopping with toddlers always sounds like a bad idea, but this Easter Toy Kingdom South Africa is hosting a series of Easter Egg hunts. Kicking off on March 31, stores at the East Rand Mall, Gateway, Sandton, Menlyn, V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk, will host a series of eggciting Easter Egg hunts, allowing kids the freedom to run through their favourite Toy Kingdom stores and join in the search for hundreds of chocolate eggs, plus the chance to find one of 2 golden eggs per store – and win an eggstra eggciting prize! The hunt promises to keep kids busy for at least 30 minutes, just enough time for mom to grab a cup of coffee, which is sometimes all you need to restore your sanity.

 

About Blue Horizon Licensing

Blue Horizon Licensing (Pty) Ltd. is a global leader in brand licensing and has represented Mattel Consumer Products exclusively in South Africa for over 15 years, working with brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels™, Barney & Friends, Thomas & Friends, Fisher-Price® and Scrabble

In 2017, the creative team approved over 820 different product styles for Barbie alone, and sold over 10 million units, making South Africa one of the leading regions for consumer product sales of the Barbie brand. Visit www.blueh.co.za for more information.

 

From your friends at Mattel and Fabmon,

Have a very happy Easter holiday!

Health, Health/Fitness, Slider

Why O On Kloof Is The Perfect Choice For Your Next Spa Treatment

February 12, 2018

This past weekend was probably the most relaxed and carefree I’ve felt since, well, you know.

following my recent post on The Best, Most Beautiful, And Affordable Health And Beauty Spa’s Around Cape Town, I decided to pay the lovely O on Kloof in Bantry bay a visit. Not only did the 5-star reviews attract me, but I was also really curious to meet Patrycja who seemed to charm all her guests, and of course I wanted to take you along on the journey with me.

When Patrycja invited hubby and me to come over and try out their signature 60-minute couple spa treatment, we were thrilled. It’s been a rough few weeks since school started so this was exactly what we both needed – in fact, a little time away from daily chores, work stress and homework is any parent’s dream!

On arrival, I could see why guests from all over the world love it here and keep coming back. Instead of being received in a hotel foyer, we were greeted with a glass of bubbly and told to make ourselves comfortable in the sunlit lounge with its plush couches and ocean views. It’s literally a home away from home. We learned that Patrycja was the house manager and has been part of the family-owned business for many years. She had no problem taking the time to personally show us around their gorgeous boutique hotel and even though the current drought sadly meant the jacuzzis on the bedroom balconies had to be switched off for now, the Spa and indoor pool are still fully functional and you can be sure to get your money’s worth.

At O on Kloof, one is spoilt for choice. There is nowhere around the hotel you will not find a place to unwind, whether you prefer tanning on the sundeck, working those muscles in the gym at the pool, having a drink at the bar, or my favourite place, the library with its decent selection of books. There’s something for everyone.  If, like us, you’re just breaking away for a quick spa treatment, then I advise you to also book your table for a bite to eat at the in-house restaurant with its floor to ceiling windows, once again treating you to the gorgeous view and delectable food and drinks after what I promise will be the best massage you’ll ever have.

Is it your Birthday Month? Enjoy 60min Massage for only R350 including Glass of Champagne. T&C Apply.

Vouchers are on SALE – Email ospa@oonkloof.co.za or call +27 (0)21 434 0650 to find out more.

Follow OSpa on Facebook: O SPA or on Twitter @oonkloofhotel

Enjoy the Pics!

 

 

 

Happy Valentines Day!

Love,

 

Health, Health/Fitness, Slider

New Year Recharge: The Best, Most Beautiful, and Affordable Health and Beauty Spa’s around Cape Town

January 26, 2018

After the hustle and bustle of preparing the kids for the new school year, getting back into the swing of things at work and not to mention the hordes and hordes of homework your children’s been bringing home since; it’s safe to say it has been a pretty crazy January. Sure, we’re all extremely happy this month is almost over, but what difference does that fact really make to our overall mental and physical exhaustion? It simply means we’re heading into a brand new month with the same old baggage ( not to mention, another month closer to day zero!). We have a lot on our plates, us parents, and we absolutely deserve some time away, even if it’s just for few hours, to recharge. In fact, Lesley and I have just decided a couple days ago that we’re doing just that, and when my best friend called me up yesterday and demanded it’s high time the two of us plan a spa day together again, I felt inspired to do this post, and found the best, most beautiful and affordable health and beauty spa’s Cape Town has to offer.

Hint: My list does not include the 12 Apostles, One & Only, or the Taj. 

These were selected based on reasonable affordability and locations that guarantee the best views of the Cape.

 

Heavenly Spa at The Westin

WHERE: Convention Square, Lower Long Street, Cape Town, 8000Cape Town CALL: +27214128200 EMAIL: 

 

Camelot Spa at LeFranchhoek 

WHERE: Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa, Minor Road 16, Franschhoek  CALL: +2721876-2735  EMAIL: lefranschhoek@camelotspa.co.za

 

Librisa Spa at the Belmond Mount Nelson

WHERE: 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town  CALL: +27 21 483 1000  EMAIL: reservations.mnh@belmond.com

 

Medi Spa ‘Medical Spa’ (next door to the Mount Nelson)

WHERE:  99 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town  CALL: +214225140

 

Mint Wellness Spa at Camps Bay Retreat

WHERE: 7 Chilworth Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town  CALL: +27214378300  EMAIL: book@campsbayretreat.com

 

Amani Spa Radisson Blue

WHERE: Beach Road, Granger Bay Cape Town  CALL: +27214113332/3  EMAIL: capetown@amanispas.co.za

 

Angsana Spa Vineyard Hotel

WHERE: Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Rd, Newlands  CALL: +216745005

 

Life Day Spa Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers

WHERE: Corner of Century Boulevard and Rialto Road, Century City, Cape Town CALL: +27215253888

 

O on Kloof

WHERE:  92 Kloof Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town  CALL:  +27214392081  EMAIL: 

 

Suntra Spa at African Pride 15 on Orange 

WHERE: 7th Floor, 15 on Orange Hotel, Corner Grey’s Pass & Orange Streets, Cape Town  CALL: +27214698062  EMAIL: relax@suntraspa.com

 

How will your Spa experience be affected by the current water crisis?

Not much, if at all. I have personally called many of these Spa’s on the list and most of them are using natural spring water. However, this is subject to change and it is, therefore, best to inquire about this again upon your booking. 

 

Love,