Category Archives: My Life

Food and Entertainment Aplenty: Madame Zingara – The Celebration My Life 09 OCT 2015

Exactly halfway into September last month, Chantelle and I found ourselves scurrying to get the kids to Bellville on time so that Rob and Tarryn could babysit for us whilst we, accompanied by both sets of mom and dad, headed for the Grand Parade in Cape Town.

Our destination?

Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams!

IMG_20150915_183100 at madame zingara theatre of dreams grand parade cape town

Obviously, Chantelle was more than super excited (in fact, she was the whole reason that we were going in the first place), and given the fact that we’d previously been to the show a good seven years ago (wow, time flies!), she had managed to pretty much whip up a little of that excitement in all of us joining her for the night!

IMG_20150915_183226 chantelle lotter at madame zingara theatre of dreams grand parade cape town

This time around organiser Richard Griffin’s dinner theatre spectacle carried the title of ‘The Celebration’, celebrating the 15 years that Madame Zingara has been operating in some form or another.

As expected, the show was staged in the magnificent Queen of Flanders, a three-storey high, 650-seater mirrored palace-like tent with ridiculously opulent interiors. (It’s one of the biggest of its kind in the world and has as part of the structure 6 tons of aluminium, 30 tons of galvanised steel, 70 000 floor screws and 5.2km of steel rods. There’s also 3200 mirrors, 1800m of velvet and 1200m of gold tassles as part of the interior!)

madame zingara cathy specific

Madame Zingara is a kind of “anything goes” event which translates into lots of crazy costumes, props and characters, and there is pretty much never a moment where your eyes don’t have something new/interesting to take in.

The expensive tickets bought us an evening of entertainment, welcome drinks (if you kept your eyes open), canapes (if you were quick enough), and of course a four course gourmet meal – though Chantelle would argue that in fact it was more of a three course meal because two buns shared between four people does not count as a course!

That said, starters, mains, and dessert were absolutely divine – lamb shank being the main that pretty much the whole table went for this time around! (And of course, this being Madame Zingara after all, our food was delivered by waiters in costume, from penguins, to explorers, to soldiers, to just plain silly!)

madame zingara artist stunt

The star of the show was of course the evening’s entertainment itself, and the hilariously funny (and wonderfully crude), cross-dressing, wardrobe-changing Cathy Specific  kept everyone in stitches as we bounced through the various circus and singing acts.

As for the quality of all the international circus acts, well here’s the Spanish pole artist Saulo Sarmiento that they kick the real show off with (and got all the ladies drooling in the process) in action at a different event:

You get the picture.

In summary, the Madame Zingara experience is an absolute assault on the visual senses and offers and evening of pure, unadulterated fun which one is quite literally unable to not enjoy. Highly, highly recommended as something to do that is quite different from the usual run of the mill stuff for all us normal folk out there.

Cape Town is almost done (if not already), so if you haven’t yet, go now – whilst the rest of you lot in Johannesburg will just patiently have to wait your turn in November!

Related Link: Madame Zingara: The Celebration | Cathy SpecificSaulo Sarmiento

Tallahassee Spur on Heritage Day (2015-09-24) Photo Gallery 08 OCT 2015

Apart from our play time at Helderberg Farm this past Heritage Day public holiday, I also treated my two girls to what could possibly be their first ever Chico the Clown experience at the Tallahassee Spur (currently being renovated) in the Somerset Mall.

IMG_20150924_141853 chico the clown ice cream at somerset mall Tallahassee spur on heritage day

Of course, nostalgia is never quite that great, so Chico in my mind didn’t quite look like Chico on the table – nevertheless, Emily totally loved hers.

Jessica on the other hand was distraught by the fact that the cone was upside down, meaning that she first needed to clean it off, and then put all the ice cream inside it – sans sweets and marshmallows, because she didn’t like them.

At least she thoroughly enjoyed the play area though.

IMG_20150924_141309 jessica lotter at somerset mall Tallahassee spur on heritage day

The play area didn’t on the other hand agree with Emily very much. Far too busy and noisy for her liking, meaning that the two of us cuddled closely on the bench, colouring in for all our worth whilst waiting for the food to arrive.

IMG_20150924_142340 craig lotter with emily at somerset mall Tallahassee spur on heritage day

Truthfully, it wasn’t the best of outings, reminding me exactly why it is again that I don’t ever like taking my girls to indoor only restaurants!

Related Link: Tallahassee Spur

Ice Cream Feeding Time at McDonalds! My Life 07 OCT 2015

A couple of weekends ago, at the end of one of my frequent “Dad and the girls” adventures, I treated Jessica and Emily for a ice cream and play stop at Waterstone Village McDonalds (the only one I ever take the girls to because of its size, quietness, and small play area).

Everything was nice and civillized at the beginning of our little food stop, but after a while, the girls asked to go play in the play area and so off they went. I went to grab a newspaper and returned to my seat overlooking the play area – only to find this:

Somehow Jessica and Emily together had managed to get Emily up into a feeding chair, after which Jessica proceeded to feed Emily ice cream by the spoonful…

IMG_20150919_141043 jessica feeding emily ice cream at mcdonalds

… who it must be said, really seemed to be enjoying it! :)

IMG_20150919_141035 jessica feeding emily ice cream at mcdonalds

(As any parent of two children, the one being a fair bit older than the other, can attest to – finding your kids actually playing together and sharing a laugh is a pretty rare occurrence – hence the post!)

Side note: Emily returned from the ice cream outing pretty much dripping in ice cream that she had managed to smear literally everywhere. So, so sticky – and I suspect that the lady cleaning up was not particularly impressed either!

Helderberg Farm on Heritage Day (2015-09-24) Photo Gallery 05 OCT 2015

Chantelle was working this Heritage Day, meaning that it was up to Jessica, Emily and I to figure out some fun for ourselves – so given the great weather this public holiday had presented us with, the three of us found ourselves spending some playful time frolicking about on the grass at Helderberg Farm!

IMG_20150924_132652 walking across the foot bridge at helderberg farm on heritage day

The two of them seem to rather enjoy themselves here, meaning I’m finding myself spending more and more time here – which isn’t a bad thing to be quite honest.

IMG_20150924_125646 emily lotter playing at helderberg farm on heritage day

(Seriously, I spend far too much time glued to my keyboard and screen during the week! #FirstWorldProgrammerProblems)

Related Links: Heritage Day | Helderberg Farm

Wild Flowers in the West Coast National Park (2015-09-13) Photo Gallery 04 OCT 2015

Sunday (a few weeks ago mind you) was the culmination of our little jaunt to Hopefield – a viewing of the magnificent Spring wild flowers at the Postberg Flower Reserve within the West Coast National Park.

IMG_20150913_125650 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

Having spared the kids the torture of sitting in a car the whole day by leaving them back in Bellville with the grandparents, we followed up our evening of good rest in Hopefield with a pleasant breakfast at the Merry Widow, and then packed our bags and made our way to the Langebaan gate of the West Coast National Park.

It was still pretty early, so getting in wasn’t an issue in terms of what we hear can be quite lengthy queues at this time of the year, and pretty soon we were cruising along the tarred road, admiring the view of the vegetation, sea and of course, azure blue Langebaan lagoon!

Truthfully, the West Coast National Park on the whole isn’t the best of parks for viewing animals given the combination of thick, shrub-like vegetation and tarred roads, but nevertheless, we spotted a fair number of snakes, tortoises and even some Eland on our way towards the Postberg Flower Reserve entrance.

IMG_20150913_125108 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

The privately owned (but managed by SANParks) Postberg Flower Reserve is closed to the public except for a short period during Spring (i.e. flower viewing season), meaning that this secluded piece of land is literally covered from head to toe in a brilliant explosion of pink, orange, purple, yellow and white wild flowers – making for an absolutely jaw-dropping beautiful spectacle to behold.

(Also, its secluded nature means that the antelope haven’t yet learned to shy away from the roads, making sighting of gemsbok, eland, steenbok, bontebok, kudu and red hartebeest an almost surety – and indeed, we were thoroughly rewarded in terms of herd sightings!)

Also – I thought it a particularly special sighting – we stumbled across an owl sitting out in the open, just happily perched there on a branch, allowing the cars to pass by without a seeming care in the world!

IMG_20150913_125702 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

As expected, the Postberg was literally crawling with people out to see the flowers, and despite the multitude of signs posted all around, as is human nature I guess, these were completely ignored and people were stopped all over the place, out of their vehicles, trampling flowers, and stomping about- all to get the best shot possible of course.


Despite this though, the flowers really were something amazing to behold and I’m very pleased that Chantelle and I made the trip through to see this – highly recommended indeed!

IMG_20150913_125238 chantelle and craig lotter selfie in the west coast national park

Sadly though, a lack of petrol and a need to save both set of grandparents from our kids meant that we couldn’t exactly spend the whole day wandering about the park (which by the way boasts some fantastic facilities and is one of the few parks that encourages you to ride bike, braai, etc.), meaning back home we had to turn.

Which was a nervous drive out the park mind you – that petrol gauge was looking suspiciously low!

(We did stop on the way back at the colourful West Coast Farm Stall for a quick coffee and bite to eat – which in hindsight was a bad move because without the kids to enjoy its silly ‘artistic’ eccentricities, the place comes across as more than just a little rundown/tacky.)

IMG_20150913_151645 chantelle lotter in the weskus padstal

Anyway, we arrived back in Bellville safely, picked up Jessica and Emily (who were over the moon to see Mommy and Daddy again), and headed back home to Gordon’s Bay, having enjoyed a thoroughly good whirlwind weekend of out and about! :)

Related Link: West Coast National Park | Postberg Flower Reserve

Simply Bee and a Church in Hopefield (2015-09-12) Photo Gallery 03 OCT 2015

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves overnighting at the Merry Widow in Hopefield as part of our whirlwind flowers in the West Coast National Park adventure.

Needless to say, these days Hopefield is but a fraction of its former size (and glory), and in terms of things to see – well there isn’t all that much.

However, two sights do stand out. The one being the very informative Simply Bee bee farming/product business and the old Dutch Reformed church that dominates the town (it is after all, the very reason that the town originally exists in the first place!).

IMG_20150912_150648 at Simply Bee in Hopefield - West Coast

Simply Bee is in the beeswax products business, specializing in all manner of natural skin and fragrance products, actively managing thousands of bee hives.

Their base of operations happens to be in Hopefield and their public premises are split into two parts, namely the shopfront which caters to all manner of bee-related products (Chantelle was in heaven), and the bee observation centre which hosts a gigantic amount of bee information, features a glass observation bee hive that allows you to view the bees going about their normal everyday business, and also a small museum room that features all manner of historic items from the surrounding farms on a display.

Informative, interesting and well worth a visit!

The Hopefield Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk) was built in 1879, and is home to one of only 10 Forster and Andrews Organs imported into South Africa. The organ, which was installed in 1911, is still used every Sunday, and can be viewed by appointment.

Because I was wandering about Hopefield on a Saturday, I couldn’t exactly stroll inside, but as expected from these farmland towns, the church is a beautiful and imposing structure, surrounded by a beautiful garden and featuring some gorgeous stained glass artwork.

Related Link: Simply Bee | NG Kerk Hopefield

The Merry Widow in Hopefield (2015-09-12) Photo Gallery 03 OCT 2015

As I mentioned earlier, a couple of weekends ago we posted the kids off to the grandparents and following a not so great Friday eveing date night, hit the R27 to travel along the West Coast for a quick spot of flower viewing in the West Coast National Park.

Itching to stay somewhere other than our usual haunt of Jacobsbaai (purely in the interest of trying something else), Chantelle found us a spot at The Merry Widow Country Retreat, one of Hopefield’s possibly only two advertised guest houses.

IMG_20150912_152425 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

Whilst an important and bustling hub of the West Coast in days gone by (the only access to the towns of Vredenburg, Langebaan and Saldanha was through Hopefield), the construction of the big national roads, the re-routing of the R27 and the R45 in particular, meant that the church town of Hopefield has subsequently shrunk – and in truth, has been relegated to little more than a one horse town these days.

It has a couple of tiny shops, a small hotel and… pretty much nothing else.

(The Air Force Base Langebaanweg, as well as the West Coast Fossil park – 22km and 25km west from town respectively – falls within town limits though, so that’s something. Oh, it does however have excellent Internet connectivity – always nice in our modern connected era.)

IMG_20150912_134830 the mill in hopefield

Anyway, The Merry Widow also actively facilitates Hopefield’s popular Saturday market, The Mill Country Fair, held in the old Hopefield flour mill, adjacent to the Merry Widow property – itself a restored 1880-built homestead.

Sadly though, an encounter with a long gravel road on the outskirts of Darling caused us to do a u-turn and backtrack, meaning that thanks to our Beulah breakfast and this unscheduled extra drive time (saw some beautiful fields of flowers along the way though), we made it to Hopefield and its tiny bustling market a little on the late side – so late in fact that most of the people had already packed up and gone home!

(Thankfully though, not everyone had yet left, meaning we could still grab a couple of delicious baked goodies that went down super well with the superb coffee courtesy of The Merry Widow.)

IMG_20150912_140653 at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

All the Merry Widow’s rooms are particularly good looking and well decorated, but pleasingly we got the awesome Stone Cottage, a stone built, spacious room, which I instantly fell in love with – despite Chantelle’s shivering given the naturally cool air as a result of the stone walls!

IMG_20150912_142217 stone cottage at the merry widow guest house in hopfield

Given the location, the atmosphere is pretty laid back, we took in the evening bird life, slept like kings, and enjoyed a fantastic breakfast the next morning on the outdoor stoep, taking in a refreshing, tranquil West Coast Sunday morning!

(Of course, that isn’t all we did there – after the Saturday market goodies, we visited the Simply Bee shop and education center, marveled at the beautiful church, Chantelle napped, and I strolled and drove about Hopefield, taking in a good look at what once was obviously a thriving town but is now very evidently not.

I also found a pretty cool spot that gave me a good view of flowers and Hopefield’s wind turbine farm – a view that my cellphone camera naturally completely failed to adequately capture.)

IMG_20150912_162406 wild flowers in hopefield by the wind turbines

Oh, and seeing as there aren’t any restaurants in Hopefield, Saturday evening saw us drive through to Langebaan and end up having supper at the institution that is Pearly’s. (Sadly, Mykonos was a little too deserted for our liking, and that cool looking German restaurant we spotted the last time that we stayed in Langebaan appears to no longer be in existence.)


Although Hopefield itself has very little to offer someone looking for things to do, if you are looking for a tranquil getaway with little noise, clean air and lots of bird life, then this space might just be right for you.

That said, I doubt that Chantelle and I will ever find ourselves in Hopefield again. Not with the better getaway options of Jacobsbaai and Paternoster being so close by. But at least now I can say that I’ve stayed in Hopefield! :)

Related Link: The Merry Widow Country Retreat | The Mill Country Fair

Breakfast at Beulah on the R27 (2015-09-12) Photo Gallery 02 OCT 2015

A couple of weekends ago, we split the kids (one went to Granny, one went to Ouma), and after not the best of date night ever (couldn’t locate the restaurant we wanted to try, settled for mediocre, in the middle of a renovation, Spur, and then watched a mediocre Charlize Theron drama/thriller at Ster Kinekor),  we headed out bright and early on the Saturday morning, embarking on our whirlwind flowers on the West Coast adventure!

IMG_20150912_113833 Breakfast at Beulah restaurant on the R27

To start things off though, we needed breakfast, and following some good advice from Chantelle’s baking friends, we hunted down Beulah’s Farm Deli,  which stands alongside the R27 at the Yzerfontein/Darling crossing.

The exterior is… ‘charming’ in a rundown farm stall kind of way, but inside is where the real magic lies.

The tiny deli section of this vintage (but trendy modern) decorated farm stall is stocked with some exquisite farm products, a lot of these being meat (pork) related because Beulah also plays host Eighteen94 CureSmiths, experts in the age old charcuterie style of food preservation.

IMG_20150912_114810 Chantelle Lotter at Beulah restaurant on the R27

(This of course then translates to a lot of delicious pork/bacon making it onto Beulah’s delectable menu.)

The coffee is good, but believe me, the breakfast is even better. Well presented, full of flavour, and with a feel of being prepared by someone who loves food and is well trained/watches a lot of fancy cooking shows.

IMG_20150912_120053 Bacon Breakfast at Beulah restaurant on the R27

Needless to say, Chantelle and I left there  in absolute heaven, hunger sated and ready for the next step of our little breakaway journey!

Related Link: Beulah Farm Deli | Eighteen94 CureSmiths

Goading for another FIFA with the Boys Night My Life 27 SEP 2015

This post is going up for the express purpose of appearing on my Facebook feed and thus appearing in the timelines of the people that I play FIFA with, in an effort to goad them just a little and in so doing, action our next FIFA with the Boys night.

This picture in particular will help with that goading goal:

craig lotter holding his FIFA evening trophies august 2015

In reality, we have played very little FIFA this year, and had even fewer FIFA evenings to boot, though in retrospect I have had a particularly good year in terms of palming in at least one trophy per get together. Not bad at all, and annoying enough to the others to legitimately paint a large target on my back. (Activity like this blog post, doesn’t help either :P)

While we are still playing FIFA 15 on the XBOX 360 for our evenings, there has been a shift in our play location, eschewing Ryan Lotter’s bachelor pad in favour of newcomer Michael Garret’s comfortable setup. Ryan is also playing less with us than before, with the slack being picked up by a capable Kurt Lehner – who is more than able to bag a trophy on the night if needs be:

craig lotter and kurt lehner holding their fifa evening trophies july 2015

(Note my inclusion in this winner’s photo once again).

Damen Oosthuizen still joins us whenever he can, Dean Stapelberg is a rarity (Karl-Heinz Storbeck even more so), and Evan Granger and Michael Garret continue their quest to actually win a trophy and not lose out by a single point or technicality as the case has been the last couple of evenings. (Terrance Brown for some inexplicable reason still refuses to fly down from Japan and join us for a game night)

The FIFA evening themselves continue their epic form in terms of length – we usually start around 19:00 and play straight through to 00:00 – ridiculous if you consider that I then still have to drive back to Gordon’s Bay and work the next day. Still, I am rather enjoying my victorious streak at the moment…

(There, job done. I now eagerly look forward to checking my inbox come Monday morning!)

Reluctantly back at Gym My Life 26 SEP 2015

So reluctantly, I find myself a gym member once more. For probably just more than a month now, Chantelle has us both signed up by the ridiculously convenient (in terms of location) Bay Fitness Gym.

The gym is situated in the Mountain View Centre (next to Woolworth) in Avondrus street, making it a whole five minutes, if not less, away from me. Obviously it is a lot smaller than the large gym chains like Virgin Active (where I have gone to gym for the majority of my adult life), but is nevertheless spacious enough to play host to all the weights and machines that one needs, with a handy little studio floor tucked in via a second floor platform perched on top of the very decent bathroom facilities.

As I said, all the usual suspects in terms of weight and cardio machines can be found on the floor (in limited quantities due to the space restriction), but the weights section is well stocked, the music system upbeat and on point, and the staff are particularly friendly, helpful and available.

There are some classes presented in the morning and evenings (including spinning), but as I have not yet been able to try any of them out, I can’t quite comment on that.

Sadly though, Bay Fitness continues that horrible gym practice of encouraging lengthy term sign ups rather than more simple, friendly month to month ad hoc arrangements, meaning that Chantelle and I both signed up for an initial six month period at a rate of R390 per person per month.

(And of course, as gyms are always prone to do, there is also a big sign up/administration fee upfront which can’t really be explained and is needless to say, a bit of a turn off).

We did however receive two bottles of wine on sign up, so I guess that counts for something! :)

bay fitness gym gordon's bay weight lifting

All that said though, the setup is decent and well run, the atmosphere good, and admittedly, I’m rather fond of it already (even if I find myself not being particularly fond of gym itself any more).

The icing on the cake however has to be its location. By far the most convenient gym option of Gordon’s Bay residents, I now find myself dropping the kids off at their respective little play schools and then popping into gym for a quick session before heading home to work – with the entire journey being pretty much in a short straight line!

And you know just how much of a sucker I am for convenience… :)

Related Link: Bay Fitness Gym | Facebook Page

Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (2015-08-29) Photo Gallery 18 SEP 2015

A couple of weekends ago, Chantelle and I decided to treat the girls to an outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (a treat because its a pretty expensive family outing thanks to the high priced tickets).

IMG_20150829_140642 entrance at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

For a change, the weather was good and following the girls and my stop at a few markets in the morning, we returned home to scoop up an awaiting Chantelle and hit the N2 to Cape Town!

IMG_20150829_145223 penguin area at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

Little has obviously changed at the Two Oceans Aquarium over the years, so there isn’t really anything new for us as adults to take in (in fact, a couple of the exhibits are actually closed to the public at the moment, making those pricey tickets a tad more painful in the process), but for Jess it proved to be a surefire hit – her being finally old enough (our last visit was two years ago when she was three) to really enjoy the various exhibits.

She would excitedly listen to everything we told her (which mostly we read off the information boards above the displays), and then rattle it off to the nearest person that she could, skipping around from display to display!

(Amazingly, Finding Nemo still holds strong for the kids, as she very firmly proclaimed that her favourite fishes were without a doubt the clown fishes.)

IMG_20150829_141907 jessica and the clown fish at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

As always then, the Aquarium was a solid outing, with both girls seemingly enjoying the experience.

Following our walkabout looking at all the fishes, we opted to tuck into some fishies and stopped for a late lunch at the adjacent Shoreline Cafe. Again, the restaurant experience proved nothing to really write home about, but the girls did particularly enjoy running round in the awesome kids play area.

IMG_20150829_163258 jessica lotter covered in ice cream at the waterfront in cape town

With lunch done and the girls particularly sticky from the ice cream all over their faces, we took a stroll back towards the parking garage to catch The Scratch Patch before it closed, pausing to admire the small navy vessel moored next to the aquarium and chuckle at the big seal taking a break on the very clever seal decks that Waterfront now plays host to.

Luckily, we made the gemstone world with about a half an hour to go before closing time, enough time for the girls to excitedly scratch around and collect a host of colourful and beautiful gemstones that then needless to say, lay scattered across every walking surface in my house for the next couple of weeks! :)

IMG_20150829_170545 jessica lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

IMG_20150829_170607 emily lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

(These little stones are a mission back at one’s own house I tell you!)

Related Link: Two Oceans Aquarium | Scratch Patch

Paardevlei and Lourensford Markets (2015-08-29) Photo Gallery 09 SEP 2015

Two weekends ago, Jessica, Emily and I headed out bright and early to catch the opening weekend for two Somerset West markets, namely the brand new Paardevlei Farmers Market and the reopening (following the disastrous storm damage earlier in the year) of the enjoyable Lourensford Harvest Market.

IMG_20150829_101759 at paardevlei farmers market

Paardevlei is a massive 700 ha area of land that used to belong to explosives manufacturer AECI, and which has since been bought and rezoned by the City of Cape Town. The property is home to three heritage buildings designed by Sir Herbert Baker, and is currently a mixture of things, including high-end residential units, business units, a Cheetah Outreach programme, a brand new hospital, a brewery (Triggerfish), and a host of very rundown industrial-looking sites – and then there is of course the revitalized vlei itself.

Anyway, Paardevlei Farmers Market, run by Elsje Schoeman, is certainly brand new – and unfortunately it shows.

First problem – it’s quite tricky to find it, given Paardevlei’s size, and rundown, work-site nature (further in). Whilst I love the outdoor art installations that line the newer, developed roads, this didn’t help one bit in finding the actual market, meaning that in the end I gave up and followed everyone else, eventually arriving at the place we needed to be.

In other words, signage. They’re going to need a lot of it. (On that note, they should actually take a leaf out of the excellent Century City Natural Goods Market’s signage approach, who share a similar problem of being tricky to find! I remember this well, seeing as we used to trade there quite often back in the day…)

The market itself is housed inside what appears to be a disused factory building, meaning tights spaces, dark spots, and when there are lots of people milling about inside, a hint of claustrophobia. That said, the live music created a lively atmosphere and you certainly could’t fault the vibe one bit.

All the usual food-based and fresh produce type stalls were present and accounted for, and I’m sure over the next couple of weeks some more craft stalls will throw their lot in as well.

IMG_20150829_101810 at paardevlei farmers market

There isn’t much public seating available yet, and things do feel a little primitive at the moment (though perhaps that is part of the charm), but there is plenty of parking in what at the end of the day is quite an interesting area and not one that locals find themselves ever visiting.

However, the tight, noisy, busy spaces wasn’t ideal for me, my toddler or my four year old little girl, and so we didn’t hang around for very long at all!

IMG_20150829_112053 jessica lotter at the lourensford harvest market

Already a favourite of ours, Lourensford Harvest Market is a much more kid friendly market, and I’m happy to report, the structural changes made following the storm damage is definitely all on the positive side (though I am a little sad to lose the grass area).

The first big change is how you access the market – essentially they’ve now rerouted the parking to a field behind the market, where you can take either a convenient tractor ride or short stroll along the ground road, past the vineyards (in bloom!) to the new main entrance for the market (although it doesn’t look like the main entrance at all – signage, signage, signage!).

Lots of new seating options have been added, the grass area swapped out for a gravel covered one (allows for more tables to be put down), and of course, sturdier roof structures covering the main stall layout (which hasn’t changed at all in case you were wondering).

No fresh produce, but loads of food and craft stalls, and of course, the live music was an absolute treat. There is space, a giant jumping castle field for the kids, and a good vibe – meaning that this was a much better market for the girls and me!

IMG_20150829_120757 jessica lotter enjoying her tractor ride at the lourensford harvest market

We bought a new bedtime story book, ate pancakes (damn it Pure Pancakes, fix your recipe already so that my mouth doesn’t dry out and taste of baking powder at the end of each pancake devouring session), and indulged in some delicious chocolate fudge (which the girls couldn’t get enough of!)

Oh, and Jessica’s favourite part without a doubt was the tractor ride back up to the car at the end of a ‘lekker’ morning out with my girls! :)

Related Link: Paardevlei Farmers Market | Lourensford Harvest Market

A Week of Chickenpox Quarantine My Life 27 AUG 2015

So Jessica got chickenpox. Luckily for us though (though they say it isn’t so serious in children anyway), very, very mildly. The rash of red bumps spread and did what they’re supposed to do, but thankfully caused no discomfort whatsoever for Jessica – who is pretty ‘kleinserig’ at the best of times!

IMG_20150824_092443 jessica at home during chickenpox quarantine

However, this did mean that she was forced to stay out of school for a week, no big deal because obviously I work from home most of the week anyway – however, the operative word here is ‘work’, meaning that poor Jessica had to entertain herself for five straight days – pretty difficult for a four year old to do!

IMG_20150824_121533 jessica at home during chickenpox quarantine

Whilst lots of fun in the beginning, the novelty of not going to school rapidly wore off for Jess – five days of movies, toys, puzzles, colouring in books and no friends to play with can become pretty boring, pretty quickly!

IMG_20150827_120949 jessica at home during chickenpox quarantine

Still, at least she was happy about the fact that she got to wear princess dresses all week long! ;)

(Emily might also have had it – possibly. But we base this entirely on a small patch of spots/bumps on her leg that didn’t spread nor go red. So not so sure about that one…)

Related Link: Chickenpox

Pizza at Wild Clover (2015-08-23) Photo Gallery 25 AUG 2015

With Chantelle now back in the fold, last Sunday saw us braving the now overcast and slightly damp weather (a surprise given that Saturday was such a hot day) with a drive out to Wild Clover, a fantastic spot on a farm that features a indoor/outdoor restaurant, large kids play area, small farmyard, archery butts, model aircraft flying zone, farmer’s market, accommodation, wedding venue, and even a small brewery!

IMG_20150823_140652 chantelle and emily lotter at wild clover farm restaurant

We opted to sit under the roof with the gas heaters turned up high, while Jessica ran around outside and Emily busied herself playing in the drainage chips keeping the floor dry.

The atmosphere was good as always, the music pleasant, and pleasingly, the pizzas that we ordered were divine! (I had some of the local brewery’s ale as well – sadly though, I didn’t enjoy that quite so much).

IMG_20150823_134610 chantelle lotter at wild clover farm restaurant

Following a pleasant lunch, we strolled around the area for a bit, and were treated to quite a nice encounter with a pair of horses and their foal.

After the dad checked us out and made sure that we weren’t a threat, the mother and foal decided it okay to approach, and needless to say, Jess was quite thrilled at seeing these magnificent beasts up so close and personal!

(Plus, the foal was thoroughly entertaining, prancing and running around to its heart’s content!)

IMG_20150823_152925 horses drinking water at wild clover farm restaurant

Emily on the other hand wasn’t quite as thrilled with all this farmyard activity – especially when it came to the noisy (but oh so cute) piglets running around!

IMG_20150823_153154 chantelle lotter at wild clover farm restaurant

What a treat of a Sunday afternoon!

Related Link:

Root 44 and Burger King Ice-cream (2015-08-22) Photo Gallery 24 AUG 2015

It was girls and I again last weekend, so after we did all the chores (that involved riding around trying to source fridge lightbulbs and other odds and ends), I figured it a great idea to take advantage of the unusually warm weather and drive out towards Stellenbosch for a visit at the always super popular and busy Root 44 market at Audacia.

IMG_20150822_130504 jessica at root 44 market on audacia farm

As expected, the vibes were great, The Professors were creating some fantastic music up on stage, and Jessica and Emily enjoyed clambering about the sandpit and jungle gym.

Sadly for me though, Pure Pancakes continues to disappoint with its pancakes that leave that horrible dry, baking soda taste in your mouth once they’re done. Sigh, I really wish they’d fix their recipe! (Or at least copy Catje’s Pancakes of Blaauwklippen Market fame’s delicious recipe!)

Oh, and because I had dressed the girls for Winter and in the end it was more like Summer, I was ‘forced’ to stop for a quick ice-cream at our local Burger King in Somerset Mall – mainly because I wanted to see what their kids play area looks like…

IMG_20150822_141839 jessica eating ice-cream at burger king in somerset mall

Turns out Emily is rather fond of ice-cream…

And thanks to all that… stickiness, it was completely impossible for us to escape bath time come evening! :)

IMG_20150822_191602 emily and jessica lotter in the bath