Category Archives: Photo Gallery

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

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

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

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

Building up to Easter at Bossa Social Cafe (2015-04-03) Photo Gallery 20 AUG 2015

Oops, stumbled across another small set of photos that I completely neglected to post way back in April. I’ve already mentioned what a nice Easter we enjoyed this year, complete with excited Easter egg hunt and visit to the legendary Scratch Patch, but these photos were grabbed at the start of the long weekend, when we paid a family food visit to Bossa Social Cafe, a pretty hip and popular hangout spot in Somerset West that doubles as a pretty good place for families with kids to visit as well!

IMG_20150403_125133 chantelle lotter at bossa in somerset west

Big grass lawn, sandpit, two jungle gyms, and plenty of outdoor seating, means that Chantelle and I can laze behind some tall refreshing glasses of whatever tickles our fancy on the day, while the kids run wild.

In other words, highly recommended if you’re looking for something local that caters for kids, but isn’t exactly aimed at kids either!

(That said, Emily’s favourite part of Easter Weekend 2015 must have been the impromptu visit to Funky Frogs in Tygervalley for a play session – she had an absolute ball!)

(However, my favourite part of the weekend might just have been the special Easter cookies Chantelle surprised me with!)

IMG_20150402_083524 easter cookies

Helderberg Farm on a Public Holiday (2015-08-10) Photo Gallery 14 AUG 2015

Great weather, check. Public holiday, check. Desire to be out of the house, check. In other words, I had the girls up and dressed pretty early on, and we were out the door just after 09:00am, heading off first to Builders Warehouse to get some DIY shopping done (Chantelle’s shelving is once again coming down, which translates to there being quite a lot of holes in the wall which needs filling!), followed by a quick round of clothing shopping in Somerser Mall – a completely impossible job with a toddler and little girl tearing about mind you!

With those chores now done and dusted, it was time for the fun part of the morning: a trip via the R44 through to Helderberg Farm!

IMG_20150810_114612 jessica lotter on a tractor at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Surprisingly, for a change I wasn’t pestered to let the girls feed the bunny rabbits – instead they had a quick look and then immediately headed back to the play area for some serious play time fun.

Clambering, exploring and running around – basically I just needed to pull up a chair and put my feet up – the girls were taking care of the entertainment part all by themselves! :)

IMG_20150810_114720 emily lotter in a pipe at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

We popped into the shop for some chips and was quite surprised to see the till gone and the lady writing everything down in a book. Sadly, it turns out that they were literally robbed the day before.

Late Sunday afternoon, a couple of men posing as customers came into the shop, just before closing time, and asked the ladies on duty how much it would cost them to go for a walk. This didn’t work, so the men calmly returned to their car, retrieved guns and pepper spray and came back for the goods. They pepper sprayed the ladies, and after being unable to open the till (the ladies couldn’t help because they had been pepper sprayed), they simply grabbed the whole thing, ripped out the phone, and left.

So definitely not great, and according to the lady we were speaking to, the first time in the twenty years that she’s been working there that they have ever been hit. Yet another definite sign that armed crime is starting to pick up here in our beautiful Helderberg basin! :(

IMG_20150810_124406 helderberg plaas sign at the entrance

Of course, this all went completely over the heads of Emily and Jessica anyway, meaning that they weren’t deterred in the least in terms of enjoying their day – the end result being two very happy chappies indeed! :)

IMG_20150810_124207 jessica on the bridge at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Of course, plenty of photos with my phone camera were taken on the day:

On the way home, we stopped off for lunch and play at Waterstone Village’s McDonalds branch, and then it was finally back home for a little rest break for two slightly exhausted monkeys…

(Shame, because Chantelle did feel a little left out – she had to work on the day – the girls and I joined her for some late afternoon play time at Mondeor restaurant. This seemed to cheer her up, so job done! :P)

IMG_20150810_160746 chantelle lotter at mondeor restaurant

Oh, and a particularly humorous sight: Easigrass is a Durban-based company specializing in artificial grass, and have just opened up shop in the new Cape Garden Centre next to Mondeor Restaurant. For branding purposes, they’ve decked out their small company cars in artficicial grass – completely covered from bonnet to boot!

Needless to say, the girls quite enjoyed this sight:

IMG_20150810_154230 easigrass artificial grass covered advert car

IMG_20150810_154221 easigrass artificial grass covered advert car

Can you just imagine having to wash and dry those? :)

Related Link:

Giraffe House and Wild Clover (2015-08-08) Photo Gallery 13 AUG 2015

Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather we had been enjoying for the last big, Saturday saw me abandon Chantelle with her work and the need to sort out the baking/braai room, and head out with the girls to the middle of nowhere, corner of the R304 and R101 to be precise.

This is of course the location of The Giraffe House wildlife awareness centre, and where we happened to be meeting up with Michelle and little Logan for a fun day out looking, touching and feeding the animals!

IMG_20150808_115800 michelle oosthuizen at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Naturally, the moment Michelle arrived I pretty much lost Jessica, with her absolutely refusing to let go of Michelle’s hand for more than 30 seconds at any point in time!)

Thanks to the earlier spell of wet weather, everything was pretty slushy and muddy, but regardless (or perhaps because) of this, the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the sun, seeing the various animals (Gerry the giraffe was, as expected, a big hit), feeding the farmyard goats and ponies, taking in the entertaining reptile show, and of course clambering all over the central jungle gym!

IMG_20150808_105049 jessica lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Pleasingly, unlike the last time I found myself there, I walked away without having a tarantula clamber all over my face!)

In case you aren’t familiar with The Giraffe House, I grabbed this off from their website:

“At The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness centre we provide easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species. Focusing on African wildlife, Giraffe House aims to provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals and why they are special.

Most of the animals at Giraffe House form part of our wildlife education program. The giraffe, for instance, is the tallest land animal on earth, eland is the biggest antelope, the blue duiker the smallest antelope and ostrich the biggest bird. We are also proudly South African by having our national animal, the springbok and national bird, the blue crane bird forming part of our team.”

It certainly is a varied selection of animals housed, that’s for sure. Jackals, servals, flamingos, snakes, bat-eared foxes, goats, ponies, chickens, crocodiles, warthogs, springbok, zebra, blue cranes, eland, giraffe, duikers, ostriches, monkeys… well, you get the picture.

IMG_20150808_110449 emily lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

In other words, more than enough going on to keep the little ones entertained! :)

(Oh, a nice touch that I forgot to mention. On entry each child gets handed a bucket full of food to feed the farmyard animals with – which Emily usually promptly trips with and spills half out all over the floor. Judging from the amount of feed lying all over the place, this is a relatively common occurrence though…)

At the end of what was a good outing, we opted to head down the road to Wild Clover, in order to meet up with Damen who had just finished his archery session at their field.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to the wine farm / brewery / restaurant / archery field / model aircraft flying strip / farmyard animals / accommodation establishment that is Wild Clover – and I have to say, I was seriously impressed.

Extremely kid friendly in terms of a great outside play area, the restaurant features both a great indoor and outdoor space, and quite frankly, it really has everything that makes for a ‘lekker kuierplek’.

(In other words, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again!)

(I ordered a pizza to share with the girls. Happily, they turned out not to want much, meaning that I ate most of it. Oh, and it was quite a treat to watch a couple of guys flying their model aircraft about. One sometimes forgets just how big they actually are!)

Related Link: The Giraffe House | Wild Clover

Pit stop at Houw Hoek Farm Stall (2015-08-02) Photo Gallery 11 AUG 2015

Following our lovely Sunday out and about in Hermanus was of course the drive back home to Gordon’s Bay. Seeing as we had already enjoyed the scenic coastal route on the way there, I opted for the quicker N2 route home – and for the very first time ever (that I can remember as an adult), I actually pulled over at the Houw Hoek Farm Stall instead of just whizzing on by!

IMG_20150802_160856 pit stop at houw hoek farm stall on the n2

I have to say, it is actually pretty nice. A lovely restaurant from the looks of it (we opted not to sit down for a cup of coffee because it was beginning to get late), a well stocked farm stall with some particularly tasty things being cooked up by the onsite bakery, and a nice little open play area for the kids.

IMG_20150802_162046 pit stop at houw hoek farm stall on the n2

Which naturally, they quickly made full use of! :)

In other words, definitely a pit stop option then if you’re ever driving through the Elgin region!

Sunday Drive to Hermanus (2015-08-02) Photo Gallery 10 AUG 2015

Two weeks later and we’re back in Hermanus once more! Faced with the possibility of staying at home and doing nothing, I suggested that we head out for a nice scenic Sunday afternoon drive to Hermanus, for the kids to play and for Chantelle to spot whales (and for me to get out of the house!).

Happily, Chantelle agreed that this was a great idea!

IMG_20150802_131912 chantelle lotter with the girls on the scenic hermanus cliff path

This time around we took the proper tourist route to Hermanus, taking the coastal road all the way until we hit this popular whale watching seaside town.

The weather was great, the drive perfect, and quite frankly, it was a brilliant start to our Sunday out and about as a family.

IMG_20150802_133218 looking for whales in hermanus bay

We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the excellently maintained and signposted Cliff Path, tried our luck at spotting whales in the bay (no such luck), and let the kids run amok in the public playground area while we cheerfully bobbed our heads to the marimba players’ merry tunes.

IMG_20150802_134702 craig lotter with his girls in front of the hermanus war memorial

For lunch we once again found ourselves at the Europa Coffee Shop, where the girls had a particular ball thanks to our waitress continually dropping things off for them to play with at the table!

As you can see from the pictures, in the end it was a Sunday rather well spent (apart from the not seeing whales part of course!).

(P.S. Chantelle was actually quite disappointed that we didn’t get to spot any whales in the bay on the day – as she puts it, what’s the point of coming to Hermanus if you’re not going to spot any whales! :P)