Category Archives: Photo Gallery

The Morning of Jessica’s Birthday (2014-11-14)

Last year Jessica’s actual birthday fell on a Friday, which is of course a normal Vergeet-My-Nie playschool day, which in turn then meant that it was “wake the kids up super early” day!

Sticking to tradition, we spruced up some cupcakes, placed some presents on the floor, and then filed into Jessica’s room singing “Happy Birthday to you!”, which needless to say woke her up with an enormous smile on her face! :)

IMG_20141114_063016

Then we encountered a bit of a flaw in our plan.

We lit the candles on the cupcakes, placed the tray on the floor, and asked Jessica to blow them out – only to quickly react after she had bent over to blow out the candles and her loose hair dangled in the flame.

Instant smell of burning hair in the morning. Yummy.

IMG_20141114_063702

Nothing serious though, the cupcakes were devoured, and the presents ripped into – all of which brought tremendous joy to our little girl who had just turned four!

Continue reading

Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm (2015-01-17)

The Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm is a CITES registered breeder and tanner of the African Nile crocodile, a crocodile that is a resident reptile in many of South Africa’s game reserves but which no longer roams free in the country – meaning that this is a great spot to see them in real life if you haven’t done so before!

In addition to its primary crocodile farming activities, Le Bonheur (which means “happiness”) also just happens to be a beautiful estate in Simondium, offers catch-and-release fishing, has wedding and conference facilities, and also caters as a children’s party venue.

Oh, and it is one of the few places in Cape Town that you can of course get a delicious crocodile pie.

IMG_20150117_121801

Always on the lookout for things to go see with the girls, Chantelle and I decided to head out towards Simondium/Paarl one recent gorgeous Saturday afternoon after hearing about this Le Bonheur crocodile farm. It’s a great drive out there if you’re coming from our Gordon’s Bay side of the world, though the last stretch to actually reach the estate itself is a quite a bit of a bumpy gravel experience!

The Le Bonheur setup is such that you can spend the day at the estate without ever visiting the crocodile dams (which is a paid for experience), though if you haven’t yet seen the crocodiles before then of course this would be a rather silly thing to do.

IMG_20150117_130634

The crocodile ‘tour’ happens every 45 minutes throughout the day, and after paying your money, things are kicked off with a short introductory information session before everyone heads out to the walled crocodile pens.

There you’ll have a bit of an interactive session with some baby crocodiles (we handled six month old crocs, and I have to say, it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever held a crocodile!), before being set free to stroll along the walkway that stretches between the various dams, all containing a multitude of different aged crocodiles.

(Though you won’t find anything much older than three years in there – that’s pretty much the best age for harvesting the leather off the crocodile in terms of it still being relatively easy to do. Anything older and it becomes a major mission because of the thickness of the hide!)

IMG_20150117_132638

Because this is a working farm, there are a lot of crocodile leather items on display and for sale – but be warned though – a full crocodile hide will set you back R20,000! (After all, this is a luxury leather in great demand over in Italy and some other parts of Europe.)

The crocodile pens aren’t particular large and you’ll breeze through it pretty quickly, but again, if you haven’t seen crocodiles in real life before then this is certainly a good way to go about it.

Needless to say, apart from the nosebleed that kind of spoiled this part of the outing somewhat, Jess did enjoy seeing all these beasts up fairly close – though not enough that she’d actually touch one of course! :)

Outside of the crocodile pens is then the estate itself, and it has a cozy dining area with a kitchen that serves all manner of foods – though if you are first timers like we were then the crocodile pie is definitely recommended.

Chantelle turned out to be not so much of a fan of the crocodile meat, but I have to say that I did actually enjoy it. Very much like chicken in terms of texture and taste, but with a definite, strong venison flavour teasing your palate throughout.

IMG_20150117_140137

On the bottom level, next to the fishing dam, is a kids’ play area, plus a few scattered eating/picnic spots under the abundant trees, all of which opens up to a lovely grass bank which is perfect to laze about on whilst you watch the eager beavers hire some rods and attempt to catch some fish.

A really relaxing and beautiful venue then in other words.

IMG_20150117_144953

Jess, Emily, Chantelle and I had a thoroughly marvelous day at Le Bonheur in the end, and if you haven’t been there before then it is definitely worth the recommend – again, especially if you haven’t seen crocodiles in real life before!

Continue reading

The Carpenter and Lötter Family Shoot (2014-06-29)

In the middle of last year, my sister Claire went ahead and organised a professional photo shoot for the family. She hired her professional photographer friend Matt McLagan to handle the photography end and together they decided to make use of Claire and Riley’s gorgeous, award-winning garden at the back of their Constantia home.

ClaireFamily_MP084

The brief for the shoot was for blue to be the primary colour of everyone’s outfits, and come the Sunday morning, Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I found ourselves up bright and early, and slightly lost in the Southern Suburbs, trying to locate Claire’s house. (There is this one turn which both Chantelle and I are forever missing!)

Not that being strictly on time mattered that much in the end though, as Matt ended up being held up for a fair bit on his end before making it through to Claire’s place, giving the family plenty of time to play catch up with one another. In total we were a nice sized group. Claire, Riley, little Devon and baby Grayson, Riley’s mom Colleen, Kirsty and Mike, Mom and Dad, Ryan, and of course Chantelle, Emily, Jessica and myself!

ClaireFamily_MP027

The weather played along beautifully, and Matt captured seriously fantastic photos of everyone – some of which I’ve put up in the gallery below. It was loads of fun for everyone (furniture shifting and all), and the morning was ended off with a delicious selection of snacks that Claire had thrown together.

So, what do you think of Matt’s work?

It’s worth mentioning that Jess was totally enthralled by Matt’s setup – and pretty soon he had her pressing the button to take photos, much to her absolute delight! :)

ClaireFamily_MP029

So thanks for organising this Claire – it was definitely worth the effort! :)

Related Link: http://mclaganphotography.blogspot.com/

Emily’s 1st Birthday Party (2015-01-11)

So the 13th of January rolled in and with it, Emily turned one. Seriously can’t believe how the first year of having the cutest baby in the world as part of our family is already over! Anyway, taking Chantelle’s guest house shifts into consideration, we decided that the best date to hold Emily’s birthday party would in fact be two days earlier, namely Sunday 11 January. (Funnily enough, Claire hosted little Grayson’s 1st birthday party on Saturday 10 January, meaning a weekend filled with 1st birthday parties!)

Mom and Dad graciously let us use their home as the venue (we wanted the space and more importantly the pool), and to sprinkle Smarties on the top, the day’s weather was absolutely perfect!

Chantelle, Jess, Emily and I made the trip through to Bellville early morning to start the setup operation, and believe it or not, our timing was exactly spot on because we finished up just as the first guests started arriving – in other words, right on time! :) (So, so many rolls were cut and buttered, Spanspek diced, and Watermelon sliced!)

It didn’t take long for the kids (and the parents) to find themselves in the pool (where the coloured balls soon made an appearance and were an absolute hit – with the dads, who couldn’t stop pelting one another with them!). The fire was soon on the go, and lots of boerewors rolls, spanspek, watermelon and cold salads eventually descended onto the outside table in order to attempt to feed the hungry hordes.

Needless to say, Chantelle had prepared an awesome upside-down ice cream cake for Emily (hastily prepared seeing as we were out the previous day attending Grayson’s party), but the real treat for the day was without a doubt the kids’ ice cream station that Chantelle had set up – complete with about eight flavours of ice-cream, a selection of cones and bowls, and a gazillion different topper treats! Young and old alike gorged themselves (multiple times) on the sweet treats, and then as before, it was back in the pool for pretty much the rest of the afternoon!

Towards the end of the day, the guys mostly gravitated towards the television in order to sit down and watch the unfolding T20 game between the Proteas and West Indies (sadly, South Africa lost), whilst the girls remained outside, rolling their eyeballs and chatting up a storm. (At that stage I’m not sure what the kids were up to because I was watching cricket).

All in all, the day was a huge success story, the kids had a blast, and the parents looked to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves (even if that sentiment is based entirely on all the dads pretty much pelting each other in the pool with coloured balls for the entire day – seriously, we never grow up, do we?).

IMG_20150111_135831

Continue reading

Gibson’s for Date Night in the Waterfront (2014-05-10)

So my quest to play catch up in finally getting around to posting all of my phone camera photos up to the blog continues… Last year Chantelle and I did something uncharacteristic for my birthday by heading out for a very rare date night on the evening before the main event. We really wanted to try out this fantastic burger joint everyone had been recently raving about, namely Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs, tucked away somewhere in the V&A Waterfront.

With the kids safely tucked in at Oupa and Ouma’s house, Chantelle and I headed south across the Boerewors Line, and not only successfully located the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, but actually managed to find parking as well (We hadn’t been there for a very, very long time, so I count that as something worthy of noting)! Then the hunt for Gibson’s was on, and after a long, enjoyable and sightseeing jaunt around the area, we realized that the restaurant is in fact a small little shopfront tucked in the food court in the actual Waterfront mall itself!

Initially a bit disappointed with the size of the restaurant then, our tune quickly changed when once seated, one quickly realized how cleverly the setup has been done – you pretty much feel that you’re inside a proper eatery, despite the fact that the mall walkway is literally right there in front of you!

Anyway, in terms of the food, we were definitely NOT let down. An awesome selection of burgers made the final choice difficult, but the end result that was put down in front of us were two of the best, freshest burgers that we had ever tasted.

In other words, a definite ‘recommend’!

By that stage it was pretty dark, and so we capped off an enjoyable evening together by taking a ride in the big ferris wheel that dominates the waterfront these days – the aptly named Cape Wheel. Neither Chantelle nor I had ever taken a ride on it before and so we were understandably excited stepping into the designated pod after slapping down our money on the counter (which was a little too much in my opinion, but hey, tourist fees – comes with the territory I suppose).

The ride is over pretty quick, and I have to say, we probably robbed ourselves of some of the views by doing it at night, but nevertheless, it was an enjoyable 10 to 15 minute sightseeing ride, and as always, the lights of Cape Town certainly didn’t disappoint!

IMG_20140510_222539

Continue reading

Vergeet-My-Nie Year End Picnic (2014-12-10)

Last year Jessica’s awesome playschool Vergeet-My-Nie ended off their year with a big weekday morning picnic, to which all the parents, grandparents, and whomever else wanted to come along were invited. We were treated to a beautiful Summer’s day with fantastic sunshine, soft grass, and of course large patches of shade provided by the multitude of trees standing tall in the picnic area at Helderberg Nature Reserve.

The kids were out in force, the teachers (complete with Santa hats) had their hands full, and it quickly became apparent that this was to be a day of play and certainly not a day of structured activity!

Songs were sung, prizes handed out (Jessica loved receiving her little ballet certificate), and of course a few Christmas-themed snacks made their way into the crowd. The parents had been instructed to drop off a gift for their child earlier in the week, meaning that there was even a chance for some much enjoyed present handing out – which as you can see, Jess was more than just a little enthralled with! :)

IMG_20141210_100241

All in all, it was a awesome morning out with Jessica (we left Emily at Baby Steps creche in order to give Jess our full attention), and Chantelle turned out to be pretty popular whilst manning the climbing wall and fireman’s pole! (I lucked out – my injured knee meant I wasn’t overrun with hyperactive kiddies!)

In fact, Jessica must have had a ball – seeing as she pretty much passed out once we got back into the car!

Betty’s Bay Penguins and Dinner at Kleinmond (2014-04-19)

Back in April of last year, Monty and Cheryl joined Jessica, myself, Chantelle and a very small Emily on a journey to go and see the penguins at the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay, followed by an impromptu drive through to Kleinmond, a place I haven’t personally been to before.

There we found a fantastic place to get a bite to eat and more importantly, catch the Stormers in some rugby action on a big screen.

IMG_20140419_133245

All in all, a good outing indeed.

A Walk on Paternoster Beach (2014-03-02)

Paternoster is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa. It is situated 15 km north-west of Vredenburg and 145 km north of Cape Town, at Cape Columbine between Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay.

It also happens to feature a very nice beach.

One which early last year saw the whole gang of Debby, Gail, Peter, Cheryl, Montgomery, Robert, and of course the Gordon’s Bay Lotter Clan descend upon it for an afternoon out and about in Paternoster.

IMG_20140302_141034

This little outing formed part of a great weekend away in Jacobsbaai – which also happened to be little Emily’s first official getaway! (Not bad going for someone who was only a month and half old at the time!)

Continue reading

Holiday Adventures with the Girls (2014-12-27)

As you might have noted from the recent run of blog posts (almost all photo gallery entries mind you), Jessica, Emily and I really did get up to a lot over this December break. The girls all ended their respective playschool years around the 12th of December, and I joined them on leave around the 18th, meaning that we’ve had a good two or so weeks of each other’s undivided attention.

Unfortunately Chantelle was working for pretty much the entire duration of my two weeks’ leave period (in the end, she actually got two days off over that entire period, when at the start of the run she was expected to get none!), meaning that it was pretty much just me and the girls most of the time, and as you might have been able to tell by now, I did my absolute best to ensure that we did at least one fun outing on each and every day of our holiday together!

We fed ducks, we fed rabbits, we saw monkeys, we saw butterflies, we played at Blasters, we looked at lions, we visted with Oupa and Ouma, we swam with Granpa and Granny, we opened Christmas Presents, we ate Christmas lunch, we played on New Year’s eve, we ate New Year’s lunch, we went to the beach, we went to outdoor markets, we fed chickens, we played at Mondeor, we devoured McDonalds ice cream… well, you get the picture.

IMG_20141227_135222

Continue reading