So no weekend for me last weekend, no, I was occupied for pretty much every single minute of it, having taken it upon myself to handle Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes market stalls for both Saturday and Sunday, a first for Chantelle’s fledgling business.
Friday evening took the usual form that pretty much every Friday night has taken since March this year, basically Chantelle in the kitchen until the early hours of the morning, while I pottered around the house picking up on whatever would keep me busy for a little while.
Saturday morning it was up bright and early, as I carted Jessica through to Bellville to be looked after by my folks for the day, and then straight through to Willowbridge to meet up with Cheryl and Robert in order to set up shop for the day. (Though the journey took much longer than expected – the N2 was shut down due to flooding, meaning quite a detour through some rather dodgy areas that I didn’t know even existed up until now!)
Unfortunately for us, the Slow Market group had again decided to place us on the other side of the market for a second time in a row, right between the Tupperware stall and the Dog toys and meal stall – in other words not exactly a place where one would expect to locate mouth-watering, delicious cupcakes, cake pops and brownies!
The weather wasn’t particularly awesome, pretty gloomy, but despite this, the placing and the fact that it was school holidays, we didn’t have a completely awful market, though we did finish up the day with quite a bit of left over stock.
Having organised that Jessica sleepover at Monty and Cheryl’s place after returning from Constantia with Mom and Dad who had been out visiting with Claire for the day, I hit the road back to Gordon’s Bay, where I set about preparing for Sunday’s market, later joined by Chantelle who eventually arrived home from work and who then jumped straight into the baking fray, finishing up… yup you guessed it, in the early hours of the morning!
With Chantelle working and Cheryl looking after Jessica, I was flying solo for our first ever Sunday market, the Century City Natural Goods market. With a heavily packed car, I left nice and early, and unlike the previous morning where I had sat in bumper to bumper traffic as the cars were routed off the flooded N2, I made Century City with plenty of time to spare, taking some time to dawdle through the stunningly beautiful surrounds, a first for me who has up to now, only ever been to the Canal Walk shopping centre in Century City!
Eventually though the huge Bedouin tent on the green commons was open for business, and I unloaded the car and set up shop. This was the first time I had ever been to this market (which runs once a month, 09:00 to 14:00), and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe, the people, the live entertainment and music, and just the whole setup in general. Trade was good, and a couple of hours into the morning, Chantelle managed to break away from work to join me and help me with manning the stall, which of course just served to make the day even better!
(A quick surprise visit from Jessica and the whole Montgomery Clan was pretty cool to!)
Eventually the afternoon had to draw to a close though, and so it was back to work for Chantelle, while I collected Jessica from Bellville and made the trip back myself.
So that was pretty much my weekend – work, work, work. Still, I did enjoy it so it wasn’t all that bad, though I certainly wouldn’t have minded another public holiday to pad it out just a little bit! :)
Well, Chantelle’s little business on the side, Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes has been going well since March now, and after having proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this thing could turn out to be a great success, I’m excited to announce that from December 1st, Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes will be operating as a full-time business for wifey.
Of course, this does mean that she first had to take a deep breathe and announce to Gordon’s Beach Lodge her intentions of leaving them at the end of November (where she has faithfully worked for Whammy and Louise for more than just a few years now!), and pleasingly this step went smoothly, with everyone standing firmly behind her and wishing her everything of the best!
As for the Lotter household, I guess you can say that we’ll have to further tighten our belts for the first couple of months into the new year, but I’m confident that the extra time Chantelle will now have to work on her product will be incredibly rewarding for her – both on a personal and financial level.
So yay for Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes then! :)
We didn’t have a particularly eventful weekend last weekend, what with Chantelle working and Saturday of course being dominated by yet another market, and besides, with this horrible slimy cough I currently sit with, I can’t say that I would have changed anything anyway!
Friday evening was a frantic night for Chantelle, as she baked and prepped well into the early hours of the next morning, trying to get everything ready for Saturday morning’s market. Outside of taking a quick break for some KFC and catching up on Avatar: The Last Airbender, I wasn’t of much help to wifey as I was caught up in some work coding, meaning the two of us didn’t see all that much of one another Friday evening. (Of course, this lack of noisy interaction did mean Jessica could enjoy a more peaceful sleep over the course of the evening…)
Saturday morning was an early start, as I got up at around 05:00 (in amidst hail and some pretty wet weather) to start loading up the car with all the baked goodies plus Jessica’s stuff, before eventually bundling her into the car and hitting the road to Bellville, where I dropped her off with Mom and Dad to look after her for the day.
From there I made my way through to the Uitsig Church in Bellville to drop off three Bar One cakes that had been ordered for sale in the church bazarre, before heading over to Willowbridge to help Cheryl and Monty set up the Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes stall, sandwiched next the dried fruits girl and jam lady (with annoying son) once again.
Funnily enough, the weather held pretty well over the course of the day, and outside of my constant coffee, warming cups of coffee and delicious breakfast steak pie, the stall kept decently busy, keeping Cheryl and myself on our toes for most of the day! (Sadly, the takings at the end of the day didn’t quite match the frenetic nature of the sales at day end money count – it would seem that smaller purchases were the order of the day!)
Having eventually finished up with the market for the day, I then headed back to Mom and Dad’s pad, where I discovered that an unexpected work call had resulted in Mom looking after Jessica all day, meaning Dad once again missed out on this golden opportunity! Nevertheless, he did return while I was still visiting, and by the look of it, quickly made up for lost time! :)
After spending a fair amount of time visiting with my folks, I then put the now in her pyjamas Jessica back in the car, and headed back home, where an ugly car accident on the N2 in Somerset West (never mind the awesome, lit up, 2 storey high Iron Man statue, standing menacingly with repulsor at the ready over the N2 and which has just recently popped up, without any explanation whatsoever) meant quite an extended journey home!
All that was left for the evening was some hotdogs for supper, some more Avatar the Last Airbender for entertainment, before rounding the night off by once again plonking down behind the keyboard and banging out some work code. (Note. My coughing eventually got me sleeping on the couch, so as not to wake up the two ladies. Needless to say, I could have had a better night’s sleep).
Sunday was a whole lot more relaxed, but unfortunately due to the incredibly high levels of illness across all the friends, we were forced to cancel our eagerly awaited 1 Day after Spring Day picnic at Klein Joostenberg, meaning a day at home for Jess and me, while Mommy slaved away at the guest house, training up her new assistant manager.
What we did get up to was take plenty of long walks (Jessica is a lot stronger on her legs now, but still very doubtful over her own abilities, meaning that she refuses to let go of your hand to try and walk by herself). We played on the park’s slide, Chantelle joined us for a spot of shoe shopping at the mall, and in general just relaxed and lazed around, cleaned the house, watching of course plenty of Avatar: The Last Airbender to pass the time in between!
Evening eventually came, Chantelle finished up at work and we enjoyed a yummy supper of pan-fried chops whilst watching the entertaining Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz in Bandidas, before capping off what was a fairly uninspired weekend in the end.
Oh well, at least that damn annoying cough is starting to get slightly better…
Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes enjoyed a really successful Willowbridge market on Saturday, and Jessica rounded off the experience by messily tucking into her very first cake pop! :)
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Chantelle was on duty again this weekend meaning that there aren’t any cool excursions to report back on, but nevertheless the weekend was pleasant enough, kicking off on a good note thanks to the Friday afternoon drinks at work. Jessica was a bundle of energy in the evening (as she has now been for the last little while), and once we eventually managed to get her to bed, it was a quick round of KFC for supper before Chantelle got on with all her market preparation work, taking her well past midnight as per usual (I was sound asleep in bed by the time she eventually made it to the room!).
Saturday was market day for Cheryl and myself (with Monty being tasked with looking after Jessica as my mom and dad were away for the weekend). Pleasingly the weather held and we were gifted a beautiful sunny day, which certainly helped lift the normally flat winter sales figures! Back home it was a matter of a quick shopping trip followed by getting Jessica into bed, before spending the rest of the evening with wifey on the couch, half watching the thoroughly enjoyable (and hilarious) Bridesmaids and chomping down on some delicious home-made pizzas!
Sunday morning Jessica and I watched a considerable amount of Avatar: The Last Airbender (I’m seriously loving that show), waiting for Chantelle to return on her split so that we could head out to the Mambos Plastic Warehouse and Toys R Us at Somerset Mall. There we picked up on a number of awesome containers to help with the Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes ventures, as well as more importantly, some cool Duplo sized imitation LEGO pieces to occupy miss Jess Jess with.
The afternoon was spent watching the final half of Bridesmaids, before Jessie and I made a supplies run to Pick ‘n Pay, followed by an awesome indoor braai where in addition to the awesome pork, chicken and boerewors on the grid, I also completely surprised Chantelle by managing to produce a rather edible (and enjoyable) braaied piece of Beef Shin, a meat she said was impossible to use outside of the stew pot! Bubble which we had bought from the plastics shop was the entertainment of the evening for young Jess, who turned out to be rather reluctant in going to bed on Sunday evening – something she paid the price for on Monday morning when we had to rudely awaken her to get her ready in time for creche!
So like I said, not a very interesting weekend to be sure, though there is one interesting thing that happened in Gordon’s Bay at 03:00 Sunday morning which involved a rugby player and our beloved Ooskus – but that I’ll report on in a separate blog post methinks! :)
It was a fairly busy weekend as always for the Lotter family, though shame, after two nights of only going to bed in the early hours of the morning thanks to baking for orders and the market, Chantelle certainly could have done with some more rest! (Not that she got it of course).
With Saturday being a market day meant that Friday evening was pretty much a write-off, as Chantelle and I spent the night getting everything ready for the next day’s market. What was cool however is that Friday marked Chantelle’s first day of leave (she’s off for about ten days in total), which needless to say is a nice change of pace then.
Saturday morning saw an early departure of the two Getz’s as Chantelle and I made our way through Bellville, Chantelle carrying the all important baked market produce and I the equally important package of Jessica and her associated luggage. Dropping Jessica and her toys off in exchange for Cheryl’s crates of fudge at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, Chantelle and I made it to Willowbridge more or less on time, set up and began to trade. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too great and being the end of the month combined with some big rugby on in the morning didn’t help our cause, but somehow against all expectations, we ended up not having too bad a market, turning a nice little profit which meant a smile on our faces and happiness at the fact that we hadn’t just wasted 5 hours of our lives!
After the market we split up again, with Jessica and myself heading back home in order to neaten up the place a little as well as get the braai sorted and all ready, while Chantelle shot through to the airport where she excitedly proceeded to pick up the returning Retha, who has come home on a whirlwind two week long break from her English-teaching job back in South Korea!
Back in Gordon’s Bay and reunited once more, Retha was essentially re-introduced to Jessica, I got the fire on the go, and after that the wine flowed freely and we enjoyed a great evening of playing catch up, discussing all manner of topics, and enjoying a fairly tasty, genuine South African traditional meal.
Sunday wasn’t much of a change of pace, as Chantelle spent the morning rushing around to complete Claire’s order, before we could finally break free from the house and take a drive through to leafy old Constantia, where we joined up with Claire and Riley who were hosting a big family and friends picnic at their house in honour of Riley’s recent birthday. For the most part the weather played along, and it turned out to be a thoroughly relaxing afternoon of eating snacks, playing with the kids, and catching up on all the family gossip. As it turned out, Derrick and Lana had made a surprise stop in at Bellville via their extended holiday trip, and thus ended up at Claire’s place as well – certainly an unexpected but pleasant bonus in other words then!
(Unfortunately Pops couldn’t make it to the big shindig as he was tied down at work, but I assume that the necessary steps were taken to ensure some snacks filtered off home to him…)
Anyway, the evening was spent back at home, tidying up the house, relaxing on the couch, and then finally ending with Chantelle and I snuggling together to watch the thoroughly engaging and entertaining, feel good movie that is “We Bought a Zoo”. (Which is now highly recommended if you’re looking for a nice family friendly DVD to rent by the way!).
And that in a nutshell (well not really in a nutshell mind you), was my weekend.
And now you know.
Despite the cold and wet weather, the Lotters ended up enjoying a nice, mostly relaxed, weekend together I’m happy to report. As always, Saturday was Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes market weekend, meaning that after some Shaun the Sheep and bedtime routine, it was Jessica in her cot and Mommy and Daddy back in the kitchen (well Daddy back to his packing station in the braai room to be more accurate) in order to finish up all the necessary preparations.
Saturday saw Chantelle shoot off early to join her mom in Bellville in order to man the stall at Willowbridge. This left Jessica and I to enjoy a leisurely, playful morning together (including lots of Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time), before packing all the necessities and jumping into the car for a quick round of shopping before our little trip through to Bellville.
(Naturally, Jessica timed her bowel movements to coincide with the exact second I closed the boot after having just packed in her pink changing bag along with the rest of the luggage. Wonderful.)
A successful plastic container hunt plus the addition of one bendy wooden toy for Jessie from Mambo’s Plastic Warehouse, followed by a quick burst through Pick ‘n Pay and then King Pie, all led to our eventual getaway from the Overberg as we headed South towards Bellville, and more importantly, the Willowbridge Food Market.
Once there, Jessica and I managed to make a nuisance of ourselves as we hung around the stall, played in the rain, and kept a watchful eye over Chantelle and Cheryl who were manning the stall (and doing a fairly reasonably okay job at it I guess), before closing time finally arrived and we were able to load up the trolley and head back to basecamp at the Montgomery Stronghold, where Jessica proceeded to entertain Oupa and Ouma, Chantelle snuck in a quick afternoon nap, and I settled down to catch the Super 15 rugby game between the Stormers and the Rebels. (Go Stormers!)
After the game’s final whistle rang out, I woke up Chantelle, managed to pry Jessica away from Monty and Cheryl, and then headed over to my folks’ place, where Jessie promptly set about helping Dad in the garden whilst Chantelle and I unloaded the car and set up everything for the night’s sleepover.
Chantelle finished up with the handover to Mom just before 19:00, leaving us free to hit the road again and make our way through to once again meet up with the Montgomery clan at The Hussar’s Grill in Willowbridge, to celebrate Robert’s big 30th birthday. We were only marginally late, though Chantelle ended up joining the table later than the rest, thanks to her stomach taking revenge on her for having not purchased me a pie when she had visited Mario’s pie stall earlier in the day.
Seemed fair to me.
Anyway, it was my first time eating out at The Hussar’s Grill and I must say that I was pleasantly impressed. It is a very cosy, classy restaurant with top notch waiters and some really excellent food. For starters I enjoyed Hollandse Bitterballen topped off with strong English Mustard (which really caught my sinuses by surprise I might add! And Robert’s too after I suckered him into partaking in a rather large dollop of the stuff…), followed by a perfectly prepared medium rare sirloin steak, smothered in a blue cheese sauce. We spent a good amount of time in the restaurant, polished off a large number of wine bottles, and in general enjoyed a thoroughly great night out, certainly a worthy family celebration of Rob’s hitting the big number then.
Chantelle and I returned back to Mom and Dad’s place, where we proceeded to drink more coffee, catch up with the folks, watch some cycling, and then retire to bed – for what turned out to be a rather interrupted night’s sleep! Unfortunately for us, Jessica chose the one night we were sleeping out to be more than a little niggly, meaning no good night’s rest for the two of us! Anyway, eventually I got Jess out of the cot and into the bed with us, and before you knew it, Sunday morning already upon us.
Unfortunately Mom and Dad were on duty in the morning, and because Chantelle wanted to be at home in the afternoon, we were forced to pack up everything and leave when Mom and Dad left for church, which translates in the three of us driving back to Gordon’s Bay whilst still wearing our pyjamas! (TLDR: no leisurely breakfast was had)
Despite Chantelle’s original intention of getting cracking on all the baking required for this week (thanks to a host of external orders plus the market this coming Saturday), her plans were dashed by several factors, resulting in a day filled more with Spring Cleaning than anything else. That said, the house definitely needed it, so not a complete waste of a day then! Claire, Riley and their puppy Rocky also popped in for an evening visit with us, and it was great catching up and meeting the gorgeous Rocky for the first time. Claire’s pregnancy is coming along nicely now, and she was keen to pick Chantelle’s brain for some tips and info on the topic.
Eventually we bade them farewell, and with Jessica fast asleep in her cot, we decided to cap off the weekend by making home-made pizzas (mine had boerewors on it, and yes, as you can well imagine, it WAS delicious) and plonking down in front of the TV to watch a DVD, Swinging with the Finkels.
Not the best of movie choices mind you, but it did have a few laughs in store for us, and combined with the delicious pizza, capped off a great weekend which, as it turned out, ended up being rather full of family time for a change! :)
Two weekends ago was my first official full market selling experience, which admittedly went pretty damn well, with Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes experiencing a bumper day of sales at the Willowbridge Food Market.
Of course, two weekends ago also happened to be both my birthday weekend (I turned 32 on the Friday) and Mother’s Day (on the Sunday), but outside of visiting the (literally) newly opened Zest restaurant (The guys who took over our beloved Hagglund’s spot) for lunch on Sunday, both were pretty much left uncelebrated as Friday was dominated by preparations for the market, Saturday which was dominated by the market itself (my folks looked after Jessica while I manned the stall, first alongside Chantelle who by a twist of fate could join us in the morning, and then with Cheryl to close things off), and of course lastly, by the fact it was Chantelle’s scheduled work weekend.
Anyway, skip two weekends forward and after enjoying a well-deserved weekend off last weekend (which I spoke about here), this weekend was again dominated by the market, though this time around our time management during the week had been spot on for a change, meaning that we closed kitchen just after 22:00 on Friday night – instead of the usual well after midnight stint.
(Not that it helped much mind you – I completely overslept on Saturday morning, and in the end, just managed to make it through to Bellville and over to Willowbridge in time for setup!)
Because my folks weren’t available to assist with looking after Jessica this weekend, Chantelle arranged for Eba to come and look after her at our home, before taking over again during split, and then eventually ending up with little Jess at work, while I on the other hand spent the day on my feet, happily selling cupcakes, truffles and whatnot with Cheryl, on what turned out to be a not too bad a day of selling (with some decent weather thrown in for good measure), though unfortunately not quite at the sales level we experienced two weekends ago.
I can only surmise it was my distinct lake of beard this time around that hurt sales, though in all seriousness, I suspect that it was most likely The Good Food and Wine Show currently ongoing at the CTICC which was partly to blame for the slower than usual day!
Back home in Gordon’s Bay, having picked up Jessica from the guest house and then running the bed time routine, Saturday evening saw Chantelle and I get pretty caught up in SABC 3’s evening movie, the thoroughly engaging Ryan Reynolds drama, Chaos Theory, whilst Sunday was pretty much everything back to normal in terms of Chantelle working in the morning and evening, leaving us to take advantage of her split in the afternoon – by heading out for some shopping at Somerset Mall and the big Mambo’s Plastic Shop that recently opened up right next to it, followed by an incident packed light lunch at the new Tameret coffee house/restaurant, which saw us enjoy some quite tasty tramezzini sandwiches, while Jessica managed to cause the chair that she was sitting on to fall backwards, leading to a nasty fall, a very surprised Jessica, and of course, a bucket load of tears to follow suit!
Luckily for us though, no harm done, everything calmed down, meaning that by the end of this weekend past, I could confidently put my feet up, catch the compelling Richard Gere movie, Primal Fear to close off the evening (well technically, churning out this blog post was the last thing I tackled), and bask in a weekend well spent, resulting in batteries charged and therefore raring to go to meet the new week head on! :)
(Oh, forgot to mention that Saturday night saw me only go to bed at 01:00 the morning – Silly creative urge forced me to quickly knock this out before I retired for the night! Sigh, I’m pretty sure sleep would have been a better option…)
So Chantelle’s Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes baking business venture has been running for more than a couple of months now, and pleasingly it is going quite well, especially after we discovered the world of food markets through which to sell her produce. (No more wasted effort in printing flyers and trudging from postbox to postbox in the wee hours of the morning in the hopes of drumming up business for this old horse any more!)
Of course, this really is no surprise considering just how HUGELY talented Chantelle is when it comes to food, baking and of course decorating!
Unfortunately we’re not making a huge amount of profit just yet, certainly not enough for her to quit her day job and move into baking full-time (the ultimate goal of this plan), but the profit that we are making is most definitely a very welcome (and desperately needed!) added income stream for the Lotter’s monthly budget.
Like I mentioned above, at the moment our primary sales come through the stall at the Willowbridge Slow Food Market which is held every Saturday at the open air Willowbridge Mall, with trading from 09:00 in the morning to 14:00 in the afternoon.
Because of Chantelle’s shift work at the guest house, she can currently do a market every second weekend, which means that for two weeks of every month, Chantelle is faced with the daunting task of working pretty much 15 hour days for five days of the week, mixing the baking and packaging in with her regular work at the guest house.
So not to beat around the bush here, but quite frankly she needs a helping hand (and because we need the money, we can’t just quit this, and do in fact need to be able to service more markets), meaning that I have decided to don my hitherto untested salesman’s cap, roll up my sleeves and dive in head first to assist my wife in making her baking venture a success!
As it turned out, last weekend was my first taste of Cookies & Cakes life as I squeezed myself into the kitchen on Friday night, working alongside Chantelle in packaging and getting everything ready for Saturday morning’s early departure.
Of course, Chantelle won’t let me behind the oven just yet, but based on how impressed she was with my assistance on the night, I can’t see how she’ll manage to keep me away from the actual baking for too long! ;)
That of course meant that Saturday was my trial by fire, and half-way through the day’s trading, I pitched up in Bellville with Jessica, dropped her off with Monty and Rob for safekeeping, and then proceeded to Willowbridge where I relieved Cheryl and tagged in next to my wife, knocking the socks off both Cheryl and Chantelle as I exhibited my previously repressed natural charm and ability to sell, making an absolute killing at the table in the process!
Needless to say, after doing such a fabulous job and selling a hell of a lot of cake, I got the job, which means that tomorrow if you happen to be hanging around Willowbridge between 09:00 and 14:00, you’ll find yours truly (along with Cheryl), manning the fabulous Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes stall.
And yes. It really is the perfect little gift to pick up for Mother’s Day come Sunday! ;)