Category Archives: My Life

Playing at the Plett Puzzle Park in The Crags (2016-06-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 JUL 2016

Day 1 of our weekend away at the Far Hills Country Hotel saw us undertake a lengthy roadtrip through to The Crags, an activity-rich area just outside of Plettenberg Bay. Having spent most of the morning exploring the wonderful Birds of Eden bird sanctuary, we decided to grab a bite to eat at the Plett Puzzle Park, a quirky little find (right next to Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary) whose claim to fame is their  life size wooden 3D maze, not to mention their unique Forest Puzzle Walk.

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The kids are still too small to tackle the two above mentioned attractions (or the kiddie maze for that matter), but they had plenty of fun messing about with Plett Puzzle Park’s oversized garden games, thus giving Monty, Cheryl, Chantelle and myself more than enough time to browse the interesting little shop (filled to the brim with puzzles and other ingenious games) and then grab a light lunch from the onsite cafe.

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There is a lot of bird life in the garden (and a handy identification chart as well), but the cherry on top was definitely all the little games attached to the tables – especially the naughts and crosses battlefield carved right into the table itself!

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Definitely a great spot to relax and refill your energy levels (not to mention get that brain working), and I can easily see myself returning there in the future once the girls are old enough to tackle the maze with me!

Related Link: Plett Puzzle Park

Exploring Birds of Eden in The Crags (2016-06-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 JUL 2016

The first day of our long weekend away at Far Hills Country Hotel, just outside of George, saw us hit the N2 (and by hit, I mean travel slowly, thanks to the multitude of speed cameras and restrictive speed limits in the area!) and travel along the Garden Route all the way past Plettenberg Bay, until we reached the activity-rich area known as The Crags.

Our first activity scheduled for the day was a visit to the famous Birds of Eden sanctuary, touted as being the world’s largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.

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Now Chantelle and I have visited the bird sanctuary previously back in 2009 as part of our honeymoon roadtrip, and as such, were rather eager to introduce this great place to our little girls.

Monty and Cheryl opted to join us on this outing, and pleasingly, the weather turned out to be perfect for the day, allowing us to take our time and wander about the lush and overgrown aviary without a care in the world.

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Thanks to the cool weather as well as being in the middle of breeding season, the aviary wasn’t exactly overflowing with birds out in the open, which was a bit of a pity because it meant that we strolled the boardwalks for relatively long sections without so much as a single sighting!

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Despite that though, there was in the end more than enough birds available for spotting by our eager little girls, and despite the length of the walk (there’s 1.2 km of walkways covering the length and breadth of the 2.3 hectare large aviary) the girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy the adventure!

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(However, the novelty of a 1.2 km walk does wear off after a couple of hours when you’re little, so we did travel the last few meters with two rather grumbly and tired little girls!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and we had some great sightings of some unusual birds, with the trip being rounded off by the hilarious addition of people preparing for a wedding procession whilst being watched by a troop of baboons outside.

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I did snap a lot of photos with my Huawei P8 phone as per usual, but unfortunately the varying light conditions caused by all the foliage meant that the picture quality came out pretty uneven to say the least! Still, it should give you some idea as to what to expect if you yourself ever make the trip down there…

Related Link: Birds of Eden

Staying at Far Hills Country Hotel in George (2016-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 JUL 2016

June saw Chantelle, the girls and I enjoy a bit of a long weekend away break, booking in at the Far Hills Country Hotel just outside of George, on your way to Wilderness. Once again, Chantelle had spotted a fantastic Daddy’s Deals promo that give us a big discount on the normal going rate (similar to how we scored for our earlier weekend away at the Blue Gum Country Estate),  with a deal that was literally too good to pass up on.

As it turned out, this deal was so good that in the end we were joined by both Monty and Cheryl, as well as (completely coincidental mind you) Evan, Natasha and their little ones for this particular weekend away!

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After a pleasant drive up on Friday, we arrived at the Far Hills Country Hotel, just in time to get settled in and bask in the magnificent views afforded from the hotel’s deck before the sun set for the night.

The hotel has been around for years now (in fact, Chantelle and her family were actually put up in the very same hotel years ago when her father was first relocated to George whilst working for Eskom), and although some of this age does creep through in terms of some of the its looks and fittings, this is more than balanced out by the splendid Garden Route setting the hotel finds itself in the middle of.

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True, there were some complaints from everyone else over the course of our stay there, for instance, grumbles over the old and tired mattresses on the beds, some desperately in need of maintenance room fittings, a not particularly great breakfast spread (or supper for that matter) on offer, not to mention the serious lack of kitchen staff seemingly on duty in the busy/chaotic mornings.

However, despite these few mutterings, I thought that the staff with which I did have contact with were all wonderful, and most important of all, I found our room relatively comfortable. True, the TV didn’t work at all (a loss as far as the kids were concerned), but I thought the fact that I was able to sit on my private balcony, drinking a cup of morning coffee whilst watching a flock of thousands of egrets fly through the valley below easily made up for all the shortcomings pointed out by the rest of our party!

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Although Chantelle didn’t sleep particularly well (and yes, the weird teenage-attended charity dance party on the Friday night didn’t help), both the girls and I slept very well, meaning that the three of us definitely enjoyed the weekend away the most!

(We also did a bit of exploring around the grounds when we got the chance, with the girls loving all the overgrown vegetation that results in loads of cool paths between the housing blocks to wander about on.)

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With Far Hills as our main base, we enjoyed a proper weekend of out and about, spending the first day by doing a full day road trip that saw us drive all the way through to The Crags (just past Plettenberg Bay) to visit Birds of Eden, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the Plett Puzzle Park, followed by a day of hopping from one beach to the next (Victoria Bay and Herolds Bay) before rounding off with a walk along the Pied Kingfisher Trail boardwalk in Wilderness!

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As luck would have it, the weather remained beautiful for pretty much the entire weekend, with the rain only finally descending upon us come Monday – which really didn’t matter that much considering the fact that we were leaving for home on the day anyway!

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It was as far as what I’m concerned, a great weekend away with a great group of people. Jessica in particular loved the fact that Evalynne was there for her to play with, whilst I on the other hand left with strong reminder of just how much I actually love the beautiful Garden Route area – even if it seems that we almost never go out that way!

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Naturally, I took loads of photos over the course of the weekend, so plenty of photo sets still to come, but for now, here are a couple that I took at Far Hills Country Lodge itself:

Related Link: Far Hills Country Hotel

Lunch at Rolandale Farm Stall in Buffeljagsrivier (2016-06-24) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 09 JUL 2016

Keeping the theme of going away for at least one weekend a month this year (Jacobsbaai, Mossel Bay, Barrydale, Stanford), June was no different with a three night stay in the Far Hills Country Hotel just outside of George on your way to Wilderness.

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Having taken both the Friday and Monday off from work, we got a nice early start on our adventure, heading up the N2 and making our way towards the Garden Route. Following the recent wet weather, the hills and fields were starting to look greener already, and overall the scenery was much improved from the last time we headed that way back in April.

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Halfway through what was quite a pleasant drive thus far, just as we were entering Buffeljagsrivier (outside Swellendam), we pulled over at the Rolandale Restaurant and Farm Stall for a bit of a lunch break – giving the girls an opportunity to run around and stretch their legs while we waited for the other half of our holiday party, Monty and Cheryl, to join us from Bellville for the last leg of the drive.

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If you’ve never stopped at Rolandale before, then you’ve missed out. It’s the perfect halfway stop for trips through to Mossel Bay or George, has a massive grass and play area for the kids to run around on, is very dog friendly, and happens to serve good old ‘roosterkoek’  – at very good prices – all day long!

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Chantelle and I got comfortable in the homely restaurant section while Jessica and Emily ran around exploring outside.

We had a bite to eat and then joined the girls in playing outside, before Monty and Cheryl eventually turned up, having been held slightly up by all the trucks on the Ashton route that they were travelling.

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Of course, it was only fair that they too had a spot of lunch, meaning that our halfway stop ended up being quite a ‘stop’! :)

(Oh, we stopped there on the way back again, though that time around the weather was wet and overcast. The cat had the best spot in the house – right next to the fireplace!)

Related Link: Rolandale Farm Stall

My Measles Scare (or rather, the Test for Measles is Expensive!) My Life 08 JUL 2016

At the start of June, Chantelle and I were making it a mission to head out for an early morning walk to the whale viewing point after dropping the kids off from school.

After one particularly fine morning walk, I returned home and noticed that I now sported a blood red rash that was spread all over my body! (You can see it on the photo above, and although the phone camera doesn’t show it off so well, on my arm below.)

Chantelle was immediately concerned, and asked that I see a doctor as soon as possible. So I got in contact with Dr. Chris Jooste’s reception and made an appointment for later in the afternoon.

At this stage I was still feeling reasonably fine, with just a bit of a scratchy throat and of course my big red rash. That all changed on arrival and inspection at Dr. Jooste’s practice though, as he came to the same conclusion that both Chantelle and I were suspecting – this looked very much like a case of measles, which is of course not a good thing at all! (Interesting fact – if you are confirmed as having measles, the doctor actually has to report it to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases as it is classed as a notifiable disease in South Africa.)

So off I rushed to PathCare to get the required blood tests done (luckily, the PathCare at Vergelegen Hospital was still open at that hour).

Now the drawing of the blood was perfectly fine, no hassle there, but goodness, the gathering of the nose swab samples was not! What a horrible sensation of having someone jam a super lengthy cotton bud up your nostril, so far that you’re sure she’s poking your brain! (Horrible, just plain horrible!)

I was of course now in quarantine, and after a few days I got a call from Dr. Jooste informing me that the measles tests had in fact came back negative (whew!), but because I was displaying the classic symptoms of measles he had more tests done and a positive for German measles had come back in.

So not nearly as serious then. Still, for the next couple of days my energy was drained, my joints incredibly sore, and of course I was (rightfully so) completely shunned by my wife and girls, meaning no hugs and kisses to make me feel better either.

Honestly, I was moving about like an old man, my joints were that sore!

What a weird year I’m having. As the doctor put it, I’m obviously trying to relive my youth at the moment. First mumps, now German measles – what’s next? Chicken pox  perhaps? (Hopefully not. Mom did find my old clinic card and it states that I received all the necessary immunizations of the time!)

measles blood test cost breakdown from pathcare

What surprised me the most about this whole saga was however the bill I received from PathCare (which I need to fork out for because I only have a hospital plan with Discovery). It turns out that the test for measles is quite expensive. R878.10, with my total account coming in at R2114.20 – I could have done without that I tell you!

Anyway, the disease passed in a few days, followed by a couple more spent in quarantine as I was still classified as being infectious, making for a rather boring week or so indeed!

Oh, and of course, a couple of weeks later Jessica followed suit with some German measles of her own

 

German Measles and a Walk along the Strand Beachfront (2016-07-06) Photo Gallery 07 JUL 2016

Believe it or not, a little while ago I came down with German Measles of all things. Sadly for Jessica’s sake though, the Gordon’s Bay Lötters weren’t quite done with German Measles after all – second week into her holiday and bang, a big red rash spreads across her entire body, and with that, my little girl is down and out for the count.

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Luckily it didn’t affect her nearly as long as what it did me but Monday, the first day of her illness, was tricky with both Chantelle and I needing to physically be at work on the day.

Thankfully Dad (who appears to be loving his new pensioner status by the way) was able to make the early morning trip through to Gordon’s Bay and look after her for us – which she rather enjoyed mind you!

Obviously holiday care at school was out thanks to the infectious nature of German Measles, so from Tuesday onward she stayed at home with me watching movies while I worked. An arrangement that also didn’t seem to bother her much!

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Halfway through Tuesday she was already starting to feel much better, and so when Wednesday rolled by, I decided to treat my now very bored little girl to a lunch time break that saw us drive out and pick up some KFC pops for lunch, sit in our car at the beach with a view of the sea and devour them, and then finally enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Strand beachfront to stretch our legs for a bit!

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Strand always feels a bit weirdly run down to me, what with its mixture of expensive high rise apartments right next to old, tired looking shopfronts. Nevertheless, that beachfront of theirs is great for a stroll, and Jessica was loving getting a bit of sunlight and fresh air after being cooped up in the house for so long!

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I see the construction phase of the City of Cape Town’s R180 million project to refurbish the Strand sea wall and in doing so, update the promenade and attempt to breathe some new life into the tired Strand beachfront is already well underway.

I can only imagine the headaches this work will bring in the future (basically the same issue that has plagued Kalk Bay and Fishhoek for years now), but the long-term benefits should more than outweigh the short-term inconvenience I’m sure!

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Despite being out for far longer than what I had originally planned, it was great to get out and enjoy the fresh sea air on such a beautiful, windless Winter sunny day, so definitely a lunch break well spent.

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Plus, it was rather nice to have a healthy, albeit it quarantined, Jessica back again!

(In case you are wondering, we think that Emily already had her German Measles first, so she should be okay. Hopefully.)

Ducks and Play Time at the Dam Park in Strand (2016-07-03) Photo Gallery 06 JUL 2016

We used to head out and feed the ducks at Dam Park in Strand (just opposite Strand High School) quite often when Jess was still a baby, but in recent years we’ve kind of slowed down on doing that for some or other reason. (Maybe the fact that it has become socially unacceptable to feed ducks bread has had something to do with it?)

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Anyway, Sunday saw Chantelle working, and so not wanting to waste the wonderful sunny Winter weather of the day (and also not really being in the mood for the last day of this year’s Winter Wonderland Festival – which we sadly completely missed out on by the way), I rounded up the girls and headed out towards Strand to the duck pond for a bit of a play and walkabout session.

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Obviously, the girls were overjoyed at the prospect, and pretty soon the two of them were darting between all the play equipment, making sure not to miss any in the process!

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The old, colourful tractor and train remains the biggest hits of course, a problem because Emily is way too small to clamber all over those by herself yet – which of course she simply HAS to do, seeing as big sister Jess is doing it!

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We spent a good amount of time playing on all the equipment, and even Teddy got roped into the fun!

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We ended off the session with a leisurely stroll around the dam, watching the ducks and Egyptian geese, and of course taking selfies – because just like any other little girl, Jessica really seems to enjoy having her picture taken!

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Visiting the Dam Park here in Strand never really disappoints, and is always great if you are looking for something local to do that doesn’t require you to open your wallet. (Plus, it was really nice to see the dam back to its fuller level – the last time I was here it was halfway empty!)

We had some time to kill in the general area because we were meeting up with Chantelle, Retha and Miguel a little later at the mall in order to say goodbye and wish them well for their upcoming Camino de Santiago (St. James Path) pilgrimage adventure in Spain.

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Teddy wanted a milkshake, burger and chips, so we popped into McDonalds Waterstone for that, and after spending some time there, we headed up into the hills of Somerset West in search for more public park spaces.

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As luck would have it, we stumbled across this one brilliant wooden jungle gym at the bottom of a sloped grass patch with perhaps the most magnificent view any play park is capable of having.

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Talk about a swing with a view! :)

Here are the rest of the photos that I happily snapped on what turned out to be a very pleasant, sunny Winter’s day out with my girls:

Amadeus Rocks! at Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge My Life | My Reviews 05 JUL 2016

Chantelle and I had a nice run up to Father’s Day this year, first with a date night that saw us enjoy some good food at the recently opened Rooibos restaurant in Strand, followed by the thoroughly entertaining, Shane Black directed “The Nice Guys” starring Russell Crowe and a hilariously good Ryan Gosling.

However, the next evening brought in an even nicer treat in the form of Amadeus Rocks!, a musical show rocking out at the always entertaining Barnyard Theatre at Willowbridge.

Following the success of a previous show entitled Roll Over Beethoven, Amandeus Rocks! replicates the formula by bringing back a resurrected Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart whose goal (other than impressing the ladies) is to change classical music into rock music.

Featuring two pianos, a set of drums, an electric guitar, a bass guitar, and the star of the show, an electric violin – oh, and the fabulous team of nine musicians and singers that brings everything to life, we were treated to a fantastic set of cover songs and instrumentals that covered a range that included classical, classical rock and contemporary pop tunes.

Smoke, lights, sound and a lot of energy makes for an exciting show indeed!

amadeus rocks barnyard theatre willowbridge electric violin in action

Our outing was put together by Rob and Tarryn, who had wanted to treat their respective dads Monty and Herman with a special Father’s Day treat, and in the end we were a nice group of ten (the dads with their wives and all the grown-up kids), with a near front row table and a spread laid out in front of us that definitely was making everyone around us drool in jealousy!

Tarryn certainly doesn’t mess around when she organises a special outing, that’s for sure!

Although the show had less rock content than what I was expecting, it was nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining evening out – with Chantelle salivating over the electric guitar player in particular – and I’m pretty confident that everyone walked out that venue with a massive smile on their faces!

amadeus rocks barnyard theatre willowbridge durbanville bass guitar

amadeus rocks barnyard theatre willowbridge durbanville mozart piano

amadeus rocks barnyard theatre willowbridge durbanville singer

amadeus rocks barnyard theatre willowbridge durbanville

Related Link: Amadeus Rocks! | Barnyard Theatre

Catching The Bats at Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay My Life | My Reviews 04 JUL 2016

Back in May my dad turned the big 60 (and became a pensioner shortly after – just to sweeten the deal you know), and to celebrate the big event even more, a couple of weeks ago he invited 30 of his close friends and family to join him and mom for dinner and a show at the always entertaining Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

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Supper was to be had in the charming onsite SideDish restaurant, which is run by the Dish Food & Social catering group.

Having already pre-selected our meal choices the previous week, we were treated before the show to some delicious food in an equally exquisite (and intimate) venue – with my three course meal consisting of Prego chicken arancini, rocket, peri-peri aioli for starters, followed by a main course comprised of aged rump, sauteed greens, lazy potatoes, and bearnaise. Finally, dessert came in the form of sticky toffee pudding, with a side of amarula ice cream.

Brilliant!

Anyway, a quick cup of coffee to round off the meal, finished literally just in time as the bell below started to ring – heralding the imminent start of the evening’s show downstairs. What show you might be wondering? Well in this case, a surprising performance by one of the more entertaining South African bands from Dad’s era – The Bats!

the bats south african band eddie eckstein paul ditchfield pete clifford derek gordon

The band was originally formed way back in 1964, when Eddie Eckstein, Paul Ditchfield, the late Jimmy Dunning and the late Barry Jarman, burst onto the local scene and became, to many ardent followers, South Africa’s answer to the Beatles. They toured extensively, both locally and internationally, generating more than a hit or two along the way!

Part of their charm was of course the mix of comedy and music that made up their performances, and 50 years later you can still very much see just what an entertaining bunch the lot must have been in their heyday.

the bats south african band electric guitar

The current lineup features Eddit Eckstein (Telly Fun Quiz anyone?), Paul Ditchfield, Pete Clifford and Derek Gordon, and despite the fact that pretty much all these guys are in their 70’s now, they had us completely entertained from start to finish.

Their musical abilities are fantastic, the songs impossible not to like, the chemistry and energy on stage is beyond surprising, and throw in a lot of laughter (and yes, that includes a couple of cringeworthy and sometimes not quite PC jokes) and you’re pretty much guaranteed in walking away from a brilliant evening out with the added bonus of having a massive smile on your face.

What a fun experience.

Neither Chantelle nor I would ever have dreamed that we would have enjoyed seeing someone like the Bats perform – but my goodness, am I glad that we did! :)

the bats band comical cover with eddie eckstein as batman

(Oh, and the girls were pretty chuffed in having Rob and Tarryn as babysitters for a change – just in case you were wondering where the two of them were for the night…)

Related Link: The Bats | Theatre on the Bay | SideDish

The Cute as a Button Emily Dress from Parental Instinct Blogging 21 JUN 2016

A little while ago, Baby Steps let us know that Emily needed to come to playschool the next day dressed as a sports player – all very well and fun, but not so great when you don’t actually own anything even remotely sporty for your little girl toddler!

However, as luck would have it, a beautifully packaged blogger drop from the team at Frontpage Communications on behalf of Parental Instinct arrived at our front door in the afternoon – and wouldn’t you believe it, inside the box was the cutest toddler polo/tennis dress I’ve ever seen!

You want to know something ever more funny? That particular dress is called… wait for it – The Emily Dress! Talk about a happy coincidence.

Emily was of course thrilled to come home to this awesome surprise, and very proudly went to playschool the next day to show off her cute as a button tennis dress to anyone and everyone that she could find!

Actually, pretty much all the Parental Instinct clothing line is awesome. Started by two sport, style and design-loving dads, Paddy Muldoon and Chris Baff (who between them have 37 years spent in the design, production and marketing of sportswear), Parental Instinct was initially dreamed up as a humour-fuelled business idea, but then turned into a very clever movement for producing good looking, easy to care for, and even easier to use children’s wear.

“By taking the innovations trusted in sportswear and applying them to iconic children’s wear essentials, each of Parental Instinct’s unique products include stain resistant and release nano-technology, as well as colour-coded snaps in an attempt to make parenting as easy as pie.”

Oh, and in case that all sounds a bit like marketing guff, they even released a video about what they mean:

Very clever.

Related Link: Parental Instinct | Emily Dress

Coffee at Mondeor and a Stroll around Cape Garden Centre (2016-06-16) Photo Gallery 18 JUN 2016

Of all the things to catch, I was stuck at home in quarantine with German Measles for a week. My period of quarantine ended the day before Thursday’s Youth Day public holiday, so I promptly escaped my cabin by taking the kids out for supper at the Sunset Bay Spur here in Gordon’s Bay. (Which naturally they rather enjoyed.)

The next day was of course the public holiday, and so after making pancakes for the girls and myself for breakfast, doing a bit of gardening and DIY, and chilling for a teeny tiny bit, I took the girls out with me for a walk around Paardevlei in Somerset West. (Which they kind of enjoyed, but less so than the previous evening’s trip to the Spur!)

Anyway, by the end of our stroll Chantelle’s shift at work had finished, so we rung her up and organised a coffee date at Mondeor Garden Restaurant – always a hit with the girls thanks to their great outdoor play area.

Despite the chilly weather, the girls ran around and entertained themselves, leaving Chantelle and myself to enjoy some nice coffee and every now and then, steal a sip from the girls’ milkshakes.

Oh, and because we were in no rush to get back home, we then strolled around for a bit in the adjacent Cape Garden Center, marveling at all the pretty flowers and wishing that they would somehow just transplant themselves straight into our garden without any intervention from us at all!

Oh, and an embedded map, because I think that this might become a sort of regular thing for the blog…

Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant | Cape Garden Centre

Doing the Paardevlei Nature Walk around the Vlei (2016-06-16) Photo Gallery 17 JUN 2016

With the breakfast pancakes made, a little bit of gardening done and dusted, a small bit of DIY under the belt, and the shopping mission now complete, I decided to continue our Youth Day 2016 public holiday by taking Jessica and Emily out for a walk about Paardevlei in Somerset West/Strand – something I myself was quite eager to do seeing as I haven’t yet strolled around the vlei either!

The historic Paardevlei site is in an interesting transition phase at the moment, slowly transforming itself from its industrial roots (a long time AECI dynamite factory complex) into a modern mix of small business and residential units (and an ultra modern hospital for good measure!), using its beautiful Herbert Baker and Francis Massey buildings (which date back to the late 1890s) and consequential design guides, as well as the natural beauty that comes from the relatively recently rehabilitated vlei (Paardevlei, from where the precinct takes it name), to potentially become a much sought after destination in the area.

With beautiful walkways lined with all manner of sculpture art, Paardevlei has a little Nature Walk section, the entrance to which can be found right next to the Cheetah Outreach Center. There are a lot of future plans for this nature walk of course, but for now, you have a small trail that runs around the vlei, dotted with seating areas and great views of the diverse bird life that populates the area.

A nice surprise is the large flock of flamingos that call the vlei home, and the girls and I rather enjoyed spending some time just sitting and watching these big birds go about their business in the water. Naturally, Jessica and Emily were very firm in the fact that there was no way we were going to walk the whole way around the vlei, so I had to make do with just part of the trail done!

Oh, and the art sculptures are for the most part pretty interesting too!

Related Link: Paardevlei | Paardevlei History

Willards Chilli Cheese Curls My Life 16 JUN 2016

The guys over at Eclipse PR sent through a surprise package to me the other day After a fair bit of driving around and feeling quite lost, the courier driver eventually found our house and handed over a bright yellow box with a big red ribbon around it. (These PR blogger drops are always exciting because you never quite know what’s going to be inside!)

With the ribbon eagerly removed, the lid of the box was opened to reveal three big bags of Willards Cheese Curls – one of the plain yellow ones that we all know and love, and two of the exciting orange ones, the so-called Chilli Cheese flavour Cheese Curls!

I used to buy Cheese Curls for the girls, so obviously Jessica was quite pleased and quickly snatched away the plain Cheese Curls (seeing as she’s not really adventurous when it comes to flavour). Emily on the other hand (surprisingly!) loves the chilli cheese flavour, and so quickly scuttled away with one of the orange bags in tow, leaving the last bag for Chantelle and myself (though we did periodically swipe from the girls’ bags too!).

Launched at the end of 2014, the previously limited edition chilli cheese flavour Cheese Curls are a great balance of tangy cheese and chilli, and proved popular enough that it stuck around and is now a fully fledged standalone product! (Plus, it also won a “Product of the Year” award for 2016).

So, I wonder what flavour combination those guys at Willards are going to be coming up with next…?

Baking Peanut Butter Cookies with the Girls (2016-06-11) Photo Gallery 15 JUN 2016

With me still waylaid due to my battle with German Measles, we didn’t exactly go out this weekend (I was still rather contagious, so better safe than sorry). As such, Chantelle made some time in the afternoon to treat the girls (and Cara who had been spending the day with us) to some peanut butter cookie baking – which needless to say went down quite the treat!

All three girls eagerly perched up high on the bar stools, taking in all the instructions that Chantelle was feeding them bit by bit. Getting involved is of course the super fun bit, and before long the girls were rolling their dough balls, patting them down on the baking tray, and sprinkling them with sugar.

Isabella dropped by to show us her gymnastics medals that she had just won, and she ended up joining in on the cookie bake as well!

The end result? Some delicious cookies for the rest of the weekend, and a well deserved Zootopia movie break for mommy and the girls!

Montgomery Pizza Party (2016-06-04) Photo Gallery 13 JUN 2016

Father-in-law Monty has for a long time wanted to have his very own pizza oven, and at long last, following quite a lengthy wait, the pizza oven is in, the preparation work done, leaving only one more thing to do – organize a pizza party!

Although Rob and Tarryn couldn’t join in on the sunny Saturday afternoon, Peter, Gail and Chantelle, myself and the kids joined Monty and Cheryl for the big pizza day, quickly setting to work in creating our very own pizza masterpieces from the smorgasbord of toppings assembled by the ladies.

Monty got the pizza oven burning nice and hot, with the initial attempts at a couple of garlic pizza for starters coming out perfect!

We were working with raw dough, so there were a few kinks to work out in terms of successfully transferring pizzas to the oven and back again, and outside of poor Peter’s overloaded pizza which didn’t quite make it back in one piece, Monty was soon churning out delicious pizza after pizza.

Everyone was enjoying the food and weather, and I was getting quite a kick of rolling around on the lawn with the girls. However, as our run of back luck this year would have it, it wasn’t soon before Emily wrapped her arms around my neck whilst I was sitting on the stairs, I got up, lowered to her the ground, heard a small click, and then watched in despair as Emily wailed in absolute agony, arm hanging limply at her side.

Sigh, there goes her arm again.

So off to Louis Leipoldt Hospital’s emergency center Chantelle and I rushed, leaving Jessica and the rest of the pizza party behind. Although not busy, it took a while to have everything checked out (x-rays included), the end result being thankfully no breaks or dislocations, but rather a painful elbow sprain instead.

So it was a bit of a disappointing end to what had been shaping up to be a brilliant day, but pleasingly Emily’s arm did at least recover during the course of Sunday, so I guess there’s that at least.

(This does of course mean then that I’m rather looking forward to the next shot at the pizza party. Very little beats the taste of proper home made pizza!)