Category Archives: My Life

Ambling along Gordon’s Bay Beach (2016-05-25) Photo Gallery 26 MAY 2016

I’ll let you in on a little secret of Gordon’s Bay – Winter is one of the best times of the year in our village. The reason being that the wind pretty much goes away, leaving you with beautiful winter sun soaked days that are absolutely perfect for taking long lunch break walks along the beach.

Which is exactly what I’m trying to do on a daily basis now, working at strengthening my knee by trudging through soft sand and water. Could be worse ways to go about it!

dav

Wednesday I ended up taking my phone along, hence all these lovely sandy pictures…

Aah, now I remember why I love living in Gordon’s Bay!

Jessica and Emily get a Double Bunk Bed to Share (2016-05-24) Photo Gallery 25 MAY 2016

Jessica was 3 when she got to sleep in her own big bed for the first time. Emily beats that by about six or so months because as of right now, the two girls are roommates and sleep on their very own, brand new double bunk bed!

dav

With the walls now freshly painted by Creative Designs All Sorts, the sagging cupboard repaired with a screw into the wall, Jessica’s old single bed sold via Facebook, and the carpets nice and clean thanks to the work of AJ’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Chantelle was ready to put her Girls’ Room Transformation plan into action.

First things first, we needed to buy a double bunk bed, and after a little time spent bed window shopping one Saturday (a while back), Chantelle and I both agreed on a beautiful, kid friendly (i.e. low) double bunk bed sourced from Bed Zone at the Somerset Decor Centre. (The same place that we bought our queen sized bed a couple of years ago, albeit now with a new name). All in all, the purchase set us back R4,300, which is broken down into R2,800 for the actual bunk bed, R1,400 for the two foam mattresses, and a paltry R100 for delivery and setup.

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Chantelle donated the cot (and a lot of baby toys, plushies and loads of kids clothing as well!), meaning that Emily’s old room (aka my old office) is now the dedicated toy/play room.

A trip to Mr Price Home ensured that we now had new matching bedding and a couple of cute decor finishes, with the end result making for two VERY excited little girls – both of whom are convinced that being on top is by far the most fun!

dav

The girls are loving the new setup and so far have taken to the new sleeping arrangement like ducks to water.

dav

Which is good, because we love the new look girls room too!

New Colours for the Girls’ Room and the Braai Room (2016-05-18) My Life 24 MAY 2016

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Kaylan from Creative Designs All Sorts was hard at work transforming two of the rooms in our house, namely Jessica’s room (which is now Jessica and Emily’s room) as well as the Braai/Dining/Office room (which in its previous life was a garage).

Chantelle planned and orchestrated this whole thing, picking out the colours of Garnet and Safari Tan for her Dining Room transformation, while going for the more traditional pink and purple for the girls’ room.

dav

Oh, and don’t forget the stripes!

The process was more messy than what I might have liked, but you certainly can’t fault the end result. After lots of hours, a few battles with paint not covering a wall, and loads of masking tape, the two rooms are looking rather fetching indeed!

sdr

Money well spent I reckon!

Related Link: Creative Designs All Sorts

A Fresh Coat of Paint for the Dining and the Girls’ Rooms My Life 20 MAY 2016

Chantelle is currently enjoying some leave, and as such has finally gotten around to one of her long dormant pet projects – beautifying our home. With this in mind, she roped in Kaylan from Creative Designs All Sorts, and before long, mysterious spots of different colors started appearing in Jessica’s room and the Dining/Braai/Office room.

I then blinked twice and there all of a sudden was Kaylan, painting our wall red!

IMG_20160517_123433 kaylan from creative designs all sorts painting our braai room wall red

Well that’s not strictly true. I did have to help Chantelle remove all shelves from the walls, plugs the holes and prep the rooms for painting – not to mention shuffle all the furniture and toys around so that there was at least space to paint.

Chantelle’s got big plans for the house in general, but for now we’re starting small. The dining room and jessica’s room, the first becoming a nice safari tan with a garnet focus wall, the latter turning candy pink complete with a pink and purple striped focus wall.

Oh, and we’ve sold Jessica’s bed, clearing way for the purchase of a new bunk bed – yes, whether they like it or not, the two girls are about to become roomies!

The end result is going to look amazing…

Related Link: Creative Designs All Sorts

A Birthday Rainbow Cake Surprise (2016-05-15) Photo Gallery 19 MAY 2016

On Sunday we enjoyed a brilliant braai at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, welcoming back Rob and Tarryn who had just returned from their 3 week long honeymoon holiday in Thailand! It was brilliant to hear all about the sights and sounds that they had encountered, leaving both Chantelle and myself super jealous in the process!

IMG_20160515_162552 birthday rainbow cake from the velvet cake co

The best part of the day was however dessert time, when out of the blue, Chantelle came strolling out carrying a rainbow cake of all things! What I didn’t know was that it was a surprise cake for me in celebration of my birthday that had fallen earlier in the week, which meant that I got the Full Monty in terms of having Happy Birthday sung to me and blowing out the candles (which of course, Jessica did on my behalf).

I love rainbow cakes in general – how can one not like this happy clappy cake! – and this particular one from The Velvet Cake Co. (situated in Rosenpark, Bellville) was delicious, tasting as good as what it looks!

What a nice Sunday surprise.

Related Link: The Velvet Cake Co.

Ugh. Back to Cutting the Lawn I Guess My Life 18 MAY 2016

One of the few advantages that arose out of not being able to properly walk for a very long time was the fact that I had an excuse not to mow my lawn myself, with the end result being a lawn that was quite long and lush – until the dry summer properly stepped in of course!

Mind you, it’s back to being long and lush now though… Exhibit A:

IMG_20160211_103633 lawnmower behind very long grass in gordon's bay

In the past I have used garden services to do my grass cutting for me, but stopped doing that once it seemed that using them was introducing more weeds into my lawn than normal.

I used to also use the complex’s gardener to every now and then step in, but the two of us always had difficulty in understanding one another (language barrier), so eventually I gave up on that idea too.

Chantelle did it once (maybe twice) during this my ‘disabled’ period (and did a fine job of it too mind you), but sadly, now that I’m back on my feet, it’s time for me to take over the lawnmower’s reigns once more.

Damn.

I’m really not fond of cutting the grass.

Walking again thanks to Physiotherapy and Biokinetics My Life 16 MAY 2016

It has taken a long time to reach this point, but finally I’m walking about properly again, and it is all thanks to the combination of a brilliant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Physiotherapy, and last but not least, Biokinetics!

IMG_20160331_125947 22 st. james street somerset west marinda bruwer biokinetics

As I previously mentioned, the brilliant Dr. Peter Hardcastle was the surgeon that repaired the ruptured tendon, and then had me confined to a fixed leg brace for the longest of times.

Once he was happy that we had reached a particular point, he introduced me to physiotherapist Carolise Botha, who got me to slowly but surely regain movement in my leg.

That process lasted quite a while, and once Carolise was happy that the first stages of rehabilitation were complete, she then set me up with biokinetics specialist Marinda Bruwer – also based at the 22 St. James Street in Somerset West address.

Together with Sarah Arnold (Marinda’s intern who I worked with most), the two of them slowly got me back to a functional walking state – which essentially translates into lots and lots of carefully thought out, targeted muscle strengthening exercise.

The results have paid off, and six months after the injury, I’m up and walking again, taking on stairs and even milling about a mountain or two when the opportunity arises.

Which is just as well. I’ll need my full mobility for July’s upcoming business trip to Anaheim, USA!

craig lotter selfie at paardevlei farmers market

(And yes. I now evangelize Biokinetics in case you are wondering – it’s brilliant!)

Related Link: Peter Hardcastle | Carolise Botha | Marinda Bruwer

Birthday Supper with the Girls at Sunset Bay Spur (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2016

I turned 36 on Wednesday, and spent the first half of the day with Chantelle up on Table Mountain, taking advantage of the cableway’s free birthday ride offer. The latter part of the day I spent with my two girls, heading out to Sunset Bay Spur, because well, kids love Spur’s play areas.

IMG_20160511_174631 teddy, emily and jessica lotter at sunset bay spur in gordon's bay

Sunset Bay Spur does of course have that fabulous beach view, so I didn’t mind too much being left alone with Teddy and my Savanna Dry for the odd now and then, but for the most part the girls chose to hang out with me – with plenty of colouring in and milkshake swigging taking place.

IMG_20160511_173859 savanna dry at sunset bay spur in gordon's bay

Spur food is Spur food (in other words, I’m not really a fan), but the girls had a ball playing and occasionally eating, meaning that the trip was totally worth it – even if Jess forgot her part and totall didn’t tell the waiters that it was my birthday.

Sigh, I was looking forward to that sparkler.

Oh, and of course, one milkshake was dropped, and two bouts of tears had to be dealt with – Emily over her milkshake, and Jessica who walked into the slide forehead first!

Perhaps next time I should invite an adult along…

Related Link: Sunset Bay Spur

Table Mountain Cableway Birthday Trip (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 MAY 2016

The popular Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company gives South Africans a free cable car ride on their birthday, and although I’ve unsuccessfully tried to take advantage of the offer before in the past, this was the first year where I’ve finally been able to go up the mountain on my birthday – and what a great trip it was!

IMG_20160511_120025 craig lotter grinning like an idiot on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Traditionally, Touchwork gives us the day off on our birthday, and so roping Chantelle along (she was working an afternoon shift on the day), we dropped the kids off and then headed out to Cape Town, with the trip through to the mountain going surprisingly fast (we were expecting loads more traffic).

The mountain itself was however a different story – despite it being a Wednesday morning, there were loads of tourist buses dropping people off, and after eventually finding a spot to park (behind a bus), Chantelle and I strolled down to the Lower Cableway Station and joined the queue – a waiting process that would last a good hour and a half in the end!

IMG_20160511_113856 cable car leaving the station on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Eventually, our turn to board the Visa branded cable car arrived, and with each and every ticket scanner having happily proclaimed “Happy Birthday Craig” as we passed through, I climbed into the car grinning like a complete idiot.

This was my first time ever using the revolving cars (the last time I took the cable car was back as a kid – I’m reasonably sure of this), and I have to say, gimmick or not, I quite enjoyed this little trick up the rather impressive cart’s sleeve.

(That said, the cable car ride itself is of course ridiculously short, so there isn’t all that much time to admire things, revolving or not – so completely unlike 2014’s longer and thus slightly more enjoyable ropeway ascension in Komagatake that I did with Ryan.)

IMG_20160511_131216 mountain binoculars on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

As luck would have it, it was an absolutely beautiful day at the top of the mountain, sunny skies, no wind, minimal cloud cover and thus great visibility – meaning that one could take their sweet time strolling around the tourist paths and admiring all the stunning views at whatever pace suited them best.

(It’s been a while since I’ve been up the mountain, and although ascending the mountain in this manner and this particular tourist friendly part of the mountain is not the greatest, it still remains a pretty awesome experience in terms of sights to be had!)

IMG_20160511_123032 view outside table mountain cafe restaurant on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Chantelle was pretty keen (read: hungry) on eating something, so we headed over to the Table Mountain Cafe, ordered what on the menu reads “Ostrich Subs”, but is in reality a ostrich boerewors roll, and grabbed one of the outdoor tables that were open – quite surprising considering the amount of tourists milling about on the top!

IMG_20160511_125542 tourists with a view on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend too long up on the mountain because unlike me, Chantelle actually needed to go into work, but I was fortunate enough to catch two dueling birds of prey before going down – which I thought was a pretty good birthday present to myself!

The cable car ride down was smooth (with our enjoyable cable car ‘conductor’ putting on a great show in the process), and finally, the drive back to Gordon’s Bay went without incident.

In other words, it was a pretty good birthday outing!

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Chantelle’s Norwegian Salmon Mother’s Day Lunch (2016-05-08) Photo Gallery 13 MAY 2016

On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, I took the girls out to go and buy something nice for Chantelle. We did however start our trip by dropping in at our local Gordon’s Bay public library first – the first time any one of us had actually been there!

The girls were quite impressed by all the books, and after a quick story or two (and the promise to sign up for our very own library cards), we left again, battling the strong wind and heading off through Strand to the Paardevlei Farmers Market.

IMG_20160507_114519 Jessica and Emily with the Proteas bought for Mothers Day

After years of not being particularly impressed by proteas and the rest of the fynbos family, Chantelle has since done a u-turn and as such, the girls helped me pick out two beautiful bunches of proteas which would serve as Chantelle’s Mother’s Day gift. (We also stopped at the shops to pick up Lindt Chocolates too, just to be safe.)

IMG_20160508_130514 Chantelle Lotter with her Mother's Day Norwegian Salmon Spread

Come Sunday, despite the fact that she was working a split shift, it was in fact the rest of us who were in for a treat. Chantelle had invited the folks over for Mother’s Day lunch, and with Monty and Cheryl joining us for the day, Chantelle arrived back from her first shift at work and set about whipping up an absolutely fabulous chef-level lunch with the brilliant Norwegian Salmon  (sourced from Gordon’s Bay Fisheries) as the hero of her dish!

(Not to mention the delicious home-made seed bread that she too somehow found the time to bake!)

IMG_20160508_130502 Norwegian Salmon Mothers Day Lunch

And if the main course wasn’t enough to leave our mouths watering, she also delivered a delicious Banoffee Pie for dessert.

IMG_20160508_143434 Chantelle Lotter and her Banoffee Pie dessert

Sadly of course, after finishing our meal and enjoying the dessert, it was back to work for Chantelle, meaning that at the end of the day, it was actually the rest of us who were more spoiled for Mother’s Day than what she was!

(But at least she had her Lindt chocolates to return to that evening…)

Lunch at The Orchard in Grabouw (2016-04-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 12 MAY 2016

To round off our weekend away with Oupa and Ouma in Barrydale, we stopped for lunch on the way home, pulling in at The Orchard Farm Stall & Coffee Shop in Grabouw – a pleasant N2 stop that I’ve mentioned before, perfect if you have kids that need a little space to run around while you tuck into something a little more substantial.

IMG_20160415_145352 at the orchard farm stall and restaurant in grabouw

As luck would have it, by now we had escaped the overcast weather that had followed us all the way to Swellendam from Warmwaterberg Spa, meaning that we were treated to blue skies and a little bit of sunshine to go with it.

We picked an outside table, meaning that Jessica and Emily could get on with running around, climbing the jungle gym and falling off the swings.

IMG_20160417_141929 montgomery clan eating outside at the orchard farm stall and restaurant in grabouw

Sadly though, Emily did have a bit of an accident with the milkshake, but other than that, we enjoyed a pleasant family lunch (hamburgers and sandwiches!) before saying our goodbyes and parting ways.

In other words, great end to our little Warmwaterberg Spa weekend adventure!

(Oh, and in case you spotted the different timestamps on the photos, yes we did actually stop there on the way up – to stock up on biltongs and pies for the road!)

Related Link: The Orchard Farm Stall & Coffee Shop

Milkshakes at Tredici in Swellendam (2016-04-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 11 MAY 2016

In March Chantelle, the girls, and I had discovered the fantastic Tredici bakery and restaurant in Swellendam on our drive back home from Mossel Bay. Eager to show off our find to in-laws Monty and Cheryl, we made a point of making a quick stop there on the way back from our Barrydale weekend away – which was just as well as it turns out that in addition to great baked treats, they also make fantastic milkshakes!

IMG_20160417_114229 entering at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

If you aren’t familiar with Tredici (which is Italian for “Bakers Dozen”), it is a Swellendam-based bakery, restaurant and functions venue that is known for both its great output as well as its stunning building and vibe – a classical mix of Cape Dutch, French and Italian stylings.

IMG_20160417_115146 jessica and chantelle lotter at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The place was jam-packed (which I guess then means that Tredici is a popular Sunday stop for a lot of people), and we were lucky to get a table on the elevated floor – though only thanks to the waiter relocating two bikers from a table for six for us.

I can only assume that the two guys (pictured now sitting behind us) were not impressed!

IMG_20160417_115137 monty and cheryl montgomery at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

As I mentioned, we made this a milkshake stop, which of course both Jessica and Emily were seriously on board for!

IMG_20160417_121454 craig lotter drinking a milkshake at tredici bakery and restaurant in swellendam

The milkshakes were good, everyone enjoyed themselves, and I sneaked in buying a chocolate chip cookie for myself on the way out. Seriously, what’s not to love about this place?

Related Link: Tredici

Coffee at The Blue Cow in Barrydale (2016-04-16) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 10 MAY 2016

Recently we enjoyed a great weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa, situated on the R62 about 30 km past Barrydale in the Western Cape. Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Barrydale to have a look around town, and in doing so ended up enjoying a great coffee stop at The Blue Cow – described as the coffee shop on Barrydale’s “Waterfront”!

IMG_20160416_140210 chantelle lotter feeding the fish at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Situated on a calf paddock next to the farm’s dam, The Blue Cow is a small, stylish coffee shop that serves great coffee and good treats. The water below the deck is teeming with giant koi fish, and on arrival the girls were both handed pieces of bread to feed the demanding mouths – which obviously was a big hit for the two of them!

There is also an abundance of weaver bird nests alongside the water, and we were treated to a great weaving display by one of the birds while waiting for our order to arrive.

IMG_20160416_143117 monty feeding emily at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

The atmosphere is tranquil and the views superb, making this quiet coffee shop quite a jewel in Barrydale’s tourist offering.

Plus, I kind of like the description/history on their menu:

“Six generations ago Robert Cooke, a farm worker near Dublin in Ireland fell in love with a landowner’s daughter, Mary-Anne Proudfoot they were forbidden to marry because of the class difference so, undeterred, they jumped aboard a ship to Cape Town and then took an ox-wagon to Swellendam in 1890 the Cooke Family ended up with the farm in Barrydale where they have been farming dairy and fruit ever since.

Boetie and Hannette Cooke continued farming in the family tradition and raised their children Bertus, Anika and Danel on the farm. About eleven years ago Hannette had an idea. She told Boetie what she wanted to do and in true male tradition he told her it was a silly idea and wouldn’t work. It took Hannette two years of female guile to convince Boetie that a restaurant in the “calf paddock by the dam” on the farm would be a good idea.

And a great idea it was… The Blue Cow was born! 11 years running, moo!”

IMG_20160416_142909 cake with ice cream rose at the blue cow coffee shop and restaurant in barrydale

Oh, and everyone rather enjoyed their food!

Related Link: The Blue Cow | Facebook

Weekend away at Warmwaterberg Spa (2016-04-15) Photo Gallery 10 MAY 2016

I may have mentioned it already, but I had a horrible end to last year and a bad beginning to this one. Thus, now that I can pretty much walk normally again (at last!!), I’m doing my best to salvage the year by attempting to go on at least one getaway a month for the rest of the year – and so far we’re doing a pretty good job of it!

IMG_20160416_104325 chantelle photobomb with craig lotter at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

February was Jacobsbaai, March was Mossel Bay, and April was Warmwaterberg Spa (just outside of Barrydale if you are looking for it on the map).

Warmwaterberg Spa is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country, having opened in 1887, meaning it turns a healthy 129 years old this year! Chantelle and I have actually been there before, way back in 2010, and we were both pretty excited to now head back and show off the place to the girls.

IMG_20160416_094055 restaurant at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

If you have never been there before, Warmwaterberg Spa is a very simple operation, a place with all the necessities in place but without much luxury attached to it. There are quite a couple of different accommodation options, including caravan and tenting sites, to be had (we chose a timber cabin for the six of us), a restaurant and little shop on the grounds, and most important of all, the pools.

However, what it does have in spades is space, starlit skies, and stunning landscape scenery, with idyllic views that literally stretch on for miles – no matter which direction you look.

IMG_20160416_093425 landscape at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

Discounting the historic Roman baths on the property, there are three public pools in total, each a different temperature. Seeing as it was too cold to make use of the cold water pool, we pretty much stuck to the two warm pools, with Jessica surprising us all by declaring her independence (thank you water wings!) and swimming on her own without clinging to us each and every second like she normally does!

IMG_20160416_071931 morning coffee at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

We were joined on this trip by Monty and Cheryl, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed having Oupa and Ouma along for the adventure. Our weekend flashed by, with lots of swim sessions (including a night dip for Chantelle and myself), peacock stalking, chicken chasing, braai and a potjie suppers, a restaurant breakfast and even a coffee trip to Barrydale.

Oh, and Emily was particularly impressed by being allowed to sleep in her own big bed for a change!

IMG_20160416_113821 girls walking to the pools at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

As luck would have it, the weather played along beautifully for the Friday and Saturday of our weekend away, with the clouds only rolling in on Sunday, making for a slightly damp car packing session.

The girls had fun, I had fun, so yes, apart from the horrible 3 km dirt road to get to resort’s reception, Warmwaterberg Spa Weekend Away 2016 was a brilliant success!

(Naturally, I took loads of photos, as is customary on any of my weekends away…)

Sadly though, despite it’s close proximity to Warmwaterberg Spa (it is literally just before the gravel road turn off), we didn’t make time to pop in at the famous Ronnie’s Sex Shop pub. Maybe when the girls are a little older…

Related Link: Warmwaterberg Spa

Kinetica at the Cape Construction Expo (2015-08-12) Photo Gallery 09 MAY 2016

August 2015 saw Touchwork’s sister company Hypenica run their successful Cape Construction Expo at the Cape Town International Convention Centre(As you may have guessed by the date, this continues the trend of me finally getting around to publishing articles that have sat gathering dust in my Drafts folder for far too long now…)

IMG_20150812_130246 red human sculpture outside the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

By this stage the usage of Kinetica (my rather flexible feedback gathering solution) as a visitor, exhibitor and delegate registration and badge print system was quite well established, meaning that unlike the Sandton trip, I didn’t have to tag along to offer front line technical assistance for the show.

IMG_20150812_114330 hypenica cape construction expo at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Rudi suggested that I come through and have a look anyway, which I eagerly agreed to (the prospect of not spending the day behind the keyboard is always a nice one – plus, I hadn’t ever been to the CTICC before, so this was as good an opportunity as any).

IMG_20150812_125549 kinetica registration system at cape construction expo 2015 at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Pleasingly, my system was running smoothly, and badge registration/redemption was quick and efficient, drawing lots of compliments from all quarters. (It was particularly satisfying, because right next door, Spar was doing a trade show with their suppliers, and their registration/badge process was this horribly slow, paper-based solution).

IMG_20150812_123642 makerbot at cape construction expo 2015 at the cape town international convention centre (cticc)

Some of the exhibits on the floor was pretty interesting, particularly the varied 3D printing solutions on show. (Surprisingly, there was even a MakerBot exhibit of all things!)

Behind the scenes things seemed as hectic as always, meaning that I was more than pleased to just be wandering around as a visitor instead of doing actual work like the rest of my frantic Hypenica colleagues!

All in all though, the expo was a big success – which is probably why this year’s version is already penciled in to be an even bigger and better affair.

Related Link: Cape Construction Expo | Cape Town International Convention Centre