Tag Archives: birthday

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.

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

Emily Turns Two! Emily 14 JAN 2016

So Emily turned two yesterday. With life being as disrupted as what it currently is, she didn’t wake up to any presents or a cupcake with a candle in it (as is our tradition), but we did at least wake her by singing “Happy Birthday” and “Veels Geluk Liewe Maatjie” – which has to count for something!

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Our little girl is growing up super fast, so much so that after another successful day of playing at Baby Steps, we were told that we need to now start packing panties in her bag because she’s not too worried about really wearing nappies during the day any more!

Geez, where has the time gone!? :)

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We did at least treat our little star to some fun play time and food at Strand’s San Francisco Spur in the evening (Jess also, seeing as it was her first day at Gordon’s Bay Primary as well!), and back home before bedtime, Emily was allowed to get stuck into opening her birthday presents that my Mom had dropped off for her last week already.

Next year we’ll be more prepared Emily, promise!

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Jessica’s Mondeor Restaurant Birthday Party (2015-11-13) Photo Gallery 22 NOV 2015

For some or other reason, Chantelle decided to challenge herself by having not one, but two birthday parties for Jessica (turning five) this year.

IMG_20151113_133720 getting ready for jessica's party at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

The first one would be for all the local Gordon’s Bay friends (i.e. from Vergeet-My-Nie playschool and our Country Mews complex), and the second one for our family and other friends out in Bellville.

IMG_20151113_130651 elsa and olaf frozen cake for jessica's party at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

To be fair, Chantelle didn’t want to do setup twice, so the first birthday party was organised to be held at Mondeor Garden Restaurant, the same place we had Jessica’s fourth birthday party last year.

Jessica had decided on a Frozen themed party in the end (originally she was leaning towards a super hero Barbie party, but changed her mind at the last moment, much to Chantelle’s relief), and as such dictated that no boys were allowed at her princess party, the girls had to all wear dresses and have plaits in their hair (not that she wore one on the day mind you!), and of course, that she needed a Elsa cake for her birthday.

IMG_20151113_140133 complex friends arriving for jessica's party at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

Mondeor is actually very nice for hosting kiddie birthday parties, as they do a pretty cool little setup for the kids, have a great outdoor play area for the little guys to run riot (sucks if it’s raining though – which is actually what happened a few weekends before on Lisa’s – one of Jessica’s friends – birthday party), and have more than enough space, seating and menu options to keep the adults pretty happy for the duration of the chaos too.

IMG_20151113_144140 school friends at jessica's party at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

In the end I think that we had about 10 or 12 little girls having a thoroughly fun time on a Friday afternoon which brought pretty okay weather along with it, whilst all us big people happily chilled at a long table with wine and pizza pretty much flowing all session long.

So, Jess loved her cake, had a great time with her friends, and also got loads of cool gifts from everyone – sounds like a successful fifth birthday party to me! :)

Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant

Birthday Weekend away in Franschhoek (2015-05-08) Photo Gallery 23 JUN 2015

The fact that I was going to be away for business in Sandton for my birthday back in May, meant that Chantelle and I bumped things up a little and headed out to breathtaking Franschhoek the weekend preceding Monday the 11th, free of the kids (thanks grandparents!) and ready to take in some culture!

IMG_20150508_153156 coffee at peregrine farm stall

Early Friday afternoon saw us hit the road, and the impromptu decision to head out to Franschhoek by looping around Viljoen’s Pass and then Franschhoek Pass was a good indicator of how the weekend was going to be. Relaxed, fun, and full of beautiful things.

An unplanned stop at the Peregrine Farm Stall resulted in some delicious coffee and cake to start things off, and then it was back on the road for what was one of the more scenic drives that I’ve enjoyed for quite some time!

IMG_20150508_162456 viljoens pass to theewaterskloof dam between grabouw and villiersdorp

The guest house that Chantelle had picked out for us (she organised the entire weekend mind you!) was a place by the name of Maison d’Ail – a luxurious guest house nestled under the Franschhoek mountains, fronted with a beautiful pool and even more majestic views. Given that there weren’t any other bookings for the weekend, the owner graciously upgraded us to his luxury suite – which came with its own little balcony and even more views of Franschhoek mountains!

IMG_20150508_171108 maison d'ail guest house in franschhoek

The guest house was perfect, the food great and the accommodation comfortable – not that we spent all that much time there mind you. This was to be a proper weekend of being out and about! :)

Chantelle and I enjoyed a relaxing stroll around Franschhoek before heading out to supper on Friday evening, picking out the French Connection Bistro as our place of choice for the evening. As expected, both the food and wine was excellent, and seated outside for the view and fresh air, we were treated to a fantastic night out and about in Franschhoek.

IMG_20150509_120354 chantelle lotter strolling around franschhoek

Saturday morning was an early start, as we raced away after a hearty breakfast to an undisclosed location, me genuinely excited at not knowing where we were heading or what my big birthday surprise was meant to be, Chantelle super excited by the fact that I was both so excited and clueless at the same time!

Sadly for her though, her big surprise was ruined, when, after arriving at the Stellenbosch Flying Club (my mouth was hanging on the floor at this stage), a young pilot let us know that due to the overcast conditions at all the other landing strips, my intro flight had to unfortunately be cancelled. Absolute devastation.

Shame, Chantelle was literally in tears! (Note: a lot of rescheduling later, I did eventually go up in a Cessna Skyhawk – it was awesome!)

So it was a sad drive back to Franschhoek for Chantelle, but thankfully our next stop was exactly what was needed to bring back a little cheer to her face – the ‘chocolate experience’ tasting and informational session at the Belgian-trained chocolatiers, Huguenot Fine Chocolates.

IMG_20150509_105749 huguenot fine chocolates belgian chocolatier in franschhoek

Delicious!

Following that, we strolled around Franschhoek a bit, taking in the great sunshine and atmosphere, stopped for some coffee at Sacred Ground (the coffee shop / bakery that Chantelle used to supply with cupcakes and cakes back in the day), and booked our tickets for the Wine Tram experience on Sunday.

With that done, it was on to the next site for the day: Johan Rupert’s fabulous Franschhoek Motor Museum at the L’Ormarins Estate. Chantelle had organised a tour guide for the session, and we spent the next couple of informative hours strolling through the four massive barns filled with some of the most beautiful classic cars you have ever seen – an experience which even load shedding couldn’t take the shine off of!

IMG_20150509_141234 franschhoek motor museum classic car

And then the day got even better.

As we stepped out of the front door following our excursion, I was greeted by a beautiful 1959 Cadillac Series 62 convertible – to which Chantelle then strode and climbed in!

Yes, Chantelle had organised for us to be driven along the estate, stopping for a light snack in between. What a fantastic experience!

IMG_20150509_145924 franschhoek motor museum ride in a classic red 1959 cadillac series 62 convertible

The excitement of the car museum behind us, we then decided to head out on a bit of a drive, and made our way through to the Hillcrest Berry Orchards for some scones and tea – a personal favourite of Chantelle and something we do without fail at least once or twice a year! :)

IMG_20150509_162050 scones and muffins at hillcrest berry orchards

Relaxed, full and rather content with life in general, we finally headed back to Maison d’Ail to put our feet up for a little bit, before once again heading into Franschhoek, our goal the fabulous Roca restaurant perched on the top of a hill on the Dieu Donne wine estate.

Needless to say, the food at this particularly cosy and majestic eatery was absolutely brilliant!

IMG_20150509_184939 chantelle lotter having supper at roca in franschhoek

Sunday was to be the day of wine, and following a good night’s rest and a great breakfast, we packed our bags, bid farewell to Maison d’Ail and headed off to the pickup point for the Franschhoek Wine Tram, looking forward to our first ever taste of their hop-on hop-off tour.

We selected the estates that we wanted to visit (in the end, we only made it to three of the six on our particular line!), and off we went, the cute and clever little tram and busses shuttling us off to the most wine tasting sessions we’ve ever experienced in a single day!

IMG_20150510_102352 franschhoek wine tram

Rickety Bridge, Grande Provence, La Couronne – we had an absolute blast, took in some beautiful views of both landscape and art, enjoyed particularly good wines, experienced a cellar tour and even paired chocolates, cheeses and wine!

An absolute stunning day out which I can only but highly recommend to anyone who enjoys drinking wine!

IMG_20150510_115411 craig lotter tasting wine at la provence wine estate

And that was that.

The weekend was over and reality returned, meaning that after a quick stop for a bite to eat and coffee to rid us of the last tipsy effects thanks to all the wine, it was off to Bellville in order to pick up the kids and then finally back home.

Without a doubt, a birthday weekend to remember! :)

The Lotter Clan and Gran’s 80th Birthday My Life 19 MAY 2015

Back in April this year, much of the Lotter clan assembled at Mom and Dad’s house in Oakglen to celebrate Dad’s mom, Granny Lotter’s big 80th birthday. We were blessed that the weather was particularly great on the day, thus making for a perfect braai and relax outdoor afternoon (which everyone seemed to enjoy).

granny beatrice lotter at her 80th birthday celebration

Our immediate family clan is actually relatively small. Mom’s parents only had two kids, Mom and her brother Stephen, and Stephen, who has since passed on, never had any children so no cousins there. Dad’s parents had four boys, though one tragically passed away quite early on, leaving us with three Lotter men. From uncle Michael’s side we got Willie (and now his family) as a cousin, and from uncle Eric’s side, we got Andrew and David as cousins.

Sadly though, through some convoluted and ultimately bad decisions, no one sees Eric, Dawn, Andy and David any more (so scratch them from family get togethers), and funnily enough, we seldom see uncle Michael and pretty much never Willie either, meaning that for the most part, the immediate family pool remains pretty tiny!

Nevertheless, as I was saying earlier, Gran’s big 80th birthday (the celebration of which took a bit of convincing from Dad’s side to happen) saw quite a good chunk of this little family pitch up at Mom’s door – Claire, Riley and their two boys, Wille, his wife and two kids, Uncle Mike and his wife, Mom and Dad, Ryan, birthday girl Gran, and of course us four Gordon’s Bay Lotters.

A nice little tally indeed!

Needless to say, there was a lot of catching up to be done and conversation to be had, and with good food and dessert flowing freely, and kids all seemingly happily playing along, it turned out to be quite a good little family get together.

the lotter clan celebrating granny lotter's 80th birthday

Of course, we couldn’t keep all the little faces rounded up all day (or Claire and Riley’s dogs either for that matter), which inevitably meant a hop across the street at some point in the afternoon – over to the big municipal park that had entertained us for so, so many hours as kids growing up there.

Naturally, Emily was more than just a little thrilled to tackle climbing up this massive slide! (And as you can see, Grandpa seemed to quite enjoy the challenge as well…)

baby emily lotter tackling the big slide in oakglen's park

Next up in terms of big birthday milestones?

Well both mom and dad are inching pretty close to that big 6 and 0 number nowadays… :)

IMG_20150301_150756 cheryl and ronnie lotter in kirstenbosch

The Morning of Jessica’s Birthday (2014-11-14) Photo Gallery 31 JAN 2015

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! :)

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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.

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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!

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Gibson’s for Date Night in the Waterfront (2014-05-10) Photo Gallery 19 JAN 2015

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!

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