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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,

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,

 

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, Inspiration, Slider

Best Places To Lunch With Mom this Mothers’ Day

April 22, 2018

It’s that time of year again when we pull out all the stops to show the women who raised us, just how incredibly special they are to us. Yes, just in case it slipped your minds, on 13 May we celebrate Mothers’ day, and if you’re not sure where to take mom for some spoils, then don’t worry, because I’ve taken care of that for you.

Our mamas absolutely love quality time with their children, so it will no doubt blow her away when surprised to a lovely afternoon tea or lunch at her favourite restaurant with the most beautiful views. Whether your mom loves to just relax with her tea while she takes in her surrounds or whether she prefers long walks after, one thing we know for sure is that when it comes to mother’s day celebrations, we never compromise.

 

Tea by the sea at The 12 Apostles

Leopard Bar & Conservatory

Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Reserve:  021 437 9000

 

Shimmy Beach Club

12 S Arm Rd, V & A Waterfront

Reserve:  021 200 7778 / info@shimmybeachclub.co.za

 

Vineyard Hotel

Colinton Rd, Newlands

Reserve: 021 657 4500

 

Grand Africa Beach Cafe

Haul Rd, V & A Waterfront

Reserve: 021 431 5888

 

Vista Bar & Lounge at The One & Only

Dock Road, V & A Waterfront

Reserve:  021 431 4511 or 021 431 5888 or email: restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com

 

Signal Restuarant at the Cape Grace 

W Quay Rd, V & A Waterfront

Reserve: 021 410 7080

 

High Tea at the Mount Nelson

76 Orange St, Cape Gardens

Reserve: 021 483 1000

 

High Tea or Gourmet Picnic at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Gate 2 Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Drive Newlands

Reserve: 021 797 4883

 

Long Sunday Lunch at Boschendal 

R310 Pniel Road Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek

Reserve: 021 870 4200

 

Full Day and Half Day Spa Treatments at Bakwena Spa

Zevenwacht Wine Estate, Langverwacht Road, Kuils River

Reserve: 0861 222 928

 

Whatever you do, have a Happy Mothers’ Day!

Love,

 

Fashion, Inspiration, Slider

Weekend Style Crush: Velvet

April 13, 2018

I’m not sure how long Velvet has been around, but it’s been around for awhile, and for a long time was considered so high-end that it was worn only by royalty and the very rich, due to the complex and time-consuming technique to create it.

Thankfully those days are now where they belong…in the past. Velvet or Valour (its knitted sibling) can now easily be found in department stores and fashion boutiques everywhere and at reasonable prices.

There’s no doubt that it’s this, and every other season’s must-have fabric, and in recent years saw many celebs sporting the trend – From Nicole Kidman at the BAFTA’s, to a very pregnant Blake Lively at the Cannes Film Festival, and Victoria Beckham in the streets of New York… because she’s Victoria Beckham.

Although Velvet has always been synonymous with glamour, it can very easily be toned down with denim or a t-shirt for date night, a meeting or work lunch. It’s also super comfy and soft, a definite plus for us moms, and perfect for adding just the right amount of fab to a usually drab outfit.

 

How to rock the trend

 

 

Image: thelist.com

 

Sources:
Zando, H&M, Spree, MRP, YDE

 

Remember to ALWAYS read the care label on your velvet before cleaning, and when in doubt, dry-clean!

Yous in fashion,