The Root44 (or Root 44 depending on what marketing material you look at) market is one of those unusually nice markets precisely because so much money has been thrown in behind it. (Also, the fact that its surrounds are so damn pretty doesn’t hurt either!)
There is literally loads of seating and chill areas (more than enough to cater for the massive crowds that seem to visit the market each and every weekend), plenty of different stall vendors, evenly split between crafts and foods, constant live entertainment, and even better still, actually roofing which make this one of the more weather resistant markets in the area.
(One of the only minor complaints that I have is that they stole away most of what was an okay kids play area and commercialized it into an offering that is okay if you plan on hanging out at the market for most of the day, but completely overboard in price if you are just popping in for a half hour long visit.)
Whilst both Chantelle and I actually prefer Somerset West’s Lourensford market in terms of the actual food stalls, there is no denying the absolutely pleasurable vibe that you get from visiting Root 44 – thus effortlessly retaining its spot as one of the most popular Saturday morning hangouts in the Stellenbosch surrounds.
(Oh, and have I mentioned that its weekly Parkrun is apparently one of the prettiest in Cape Town?)
We took a bit of a break from visiting markets last year, with these photos from November 2016 being one of the few occasions that we did actually venture down to Audacia’s grounds for a Root 44 market excursion… meaning that we are probably now somewhat overdue another Saturday morning pancakes fix! :)
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Bonus: As always, here is a handy map, just in case you want to figure out for yourself where in the world this place I’m talking about actually is:
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! :)
I’ve been pretty quiet in terms of the personal stuff this last little while on the blog, but that’s only because up until now, pretty much the entire Gordon’s Bay branch of the Lotter family has been struck down by colds and various infections, with the three of us only now kind of pulling out of it.
So what has been going on in the lives of the Lotters you ask?
Well, Chantelle was pretty pleased to discover the opening of two of her favourites shops inside Somerset Mall, namely Limnos Bakers and Melissa’s The Food Shop (we of course taste tested at the former. I assume the latter will be tested shortly once our sense of taste returns). I on the other hand was once again almighty pleased with the level of service I received from Hyundai Helderberg on taking my car in for its 60 000 km service.
In between all the Euro 2012 (doing so so in the SuperBru standings) and DVD evenings I’ve been partaking in as of late, I also ran another Willowbridge Food Market in conjunction with my Mom-in-law, which unfortunately didn’t do all that well thanks to the crappy weather, but which did at least open the door to maybe start supplying the wonderful Cafe Magnifico bistro and coffee shop situated in Willowbridge – so far we have delivered two loads of Red Velvet cupcakes to them, garnering great approval in each case, so here is to holding thumbs that this takes on a more permanent relationship going forward!
This past weekend was our official weekend off for the month, but unfortunately both of us took a proper turn for the worse in terms of health, with me even abandoning work on Friday to rather come home and collapse in bed in an attempt to deal with the ravaging effects of the debilitating man-flu. Nevertheless, we did make the trip through to Bellville on Saturday, first to drop off the cupcake order for Cafe Magnifico, then for some shopping and Father’s Day gift deliveries, followed by a late afternoon get together with the friends at Ryan’s pad, for a quick round of Scattergories and of course the Springboks versus England rugby clash! (We even squeezed in some FIFA on the XBOX gaming after the ladies had all left, but I didn’t hang around for too long, my threatening to explode head getting the better of me far quicker than what I thought it would!)
Our general grottiness lead to us cancelling our planned trip to either the Two Oceans Aquarium or Butterfly World on Sunday (not surprising when you consider I slept on the couch in the lounge in order to escape Chantelle’s buffalo stampede-like congested snoring), opting to rather spend the day in the comfort of the Montgomery Pad, enjoying a quiet lunch with the family before finally gathering the strength to scramble everything back in the car and make it back to Gordon’s Bay before dark – which isn’t easy taking into account just how quickly it gets dark these days!
And no, neither Chantelle nor I had the strength to go into work yesterday either. Sigh, at least Jessica seems a whole lot better now…
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…)
Wow, for a change I got to pretty much spend the entirety of last weekend in Chantelle’s company, something which probably hasn’t happened in literally months! :)
After working from home on Friday (official office move was still in progress, meaning I was getting more done from here than what I could achieve over there), the evening was pretty much dominated by me rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in with helping Chantelle finish off all the preparations for the Willowbridge Market the next day.
Saturday kicked off like most market Saturdays, with Chantelle bolting out in the wee early hours of the morning, leaving me to take care of Jess until early afternoon before joining up with the family in Bellville, though this one took a sharp twist as instead of taking Jessie with to visit mommy at her stall as per usual, I dropped her off in the capable hands of Rob and Monty and headed out solo to the market, where I joined up with Cheryl and Chantelle in their stall, muscling my way to the front before donning my gleaming salesman demeanour as I worked the available foot traffic and in the process, managed to net quite a number of sales as well as the incredulous stares from a rather astonished pair of Chantelle and her mom!
After closing up shop following a now rather successful market, next on the weekend stop list was a spot of shopping at Ackermans in Tygervalley in the hopes of finding some replacement pyjamas and long sleeve tops for Jessie, following the accidental permanent disposal of some of her clothes by Rob the previous week.
As it turned out Ackermans once again didn’t let us down, meaning that the next item on the agenda was to drop Jessica off back with her Ouma and Oupa and Chantelle and I prepared to head out to meet up with the posse Evan had managed to round up in order to catch the awesome Avengers movie at Cape Gate.
A quick round of McDonald’s before the start (well, he had the group of 12 assembled an hour before the screening just to be safe!), and after a lengthy queue to grab some popcorn and drinks, it was into the cinema where we proceeded to all marvel at the fantastic Joss Whedon spectacular that is the Avengers movie (in 3D!).
Jaw-droppingly satisfying comic book action film is perhaps the only way I can explain it – truly Avengers cannot be criticised on any level, bringing with it an intensely enjoyable mix of fine actors, awesome visuals, action, humour and a great story. (To be quite frank, I haven’t stopped gushing about the film and it has been a week now!)
Being parents now for the most of us meant no hanging around to chat after the group filed out of the cinema, but it did mean that Chantelle and I got a good night’s sleep in, unexpected and rather pleasing considering that two weeks ago Jessica had made it almost impossible to sleep with whatever was paining her so on the night!
Refreshed, we tackled Sunday morning by getting stuck in to the packing up adventure, before heading out in convoy (Chantelle was driving her Dad’s car, Monty and Cheryl were in the Tucson, Mom and Dad were in their Lexus SUV and I of course was in the Getz), winding our way out into the Cape Winelands region, targeting the interesting sounding Babylonstoren Farm for an afternoon out and about.
Of course, we should have picked up something fishy when GPS revealed a POI named Backsberg/Babylonstoren, as it first lead us to Backsberg wine estate, before allowing us to reach a closed due to over capacity Babylonstoren farm. Not wanting to waste time by sitting around and doing nothing, the Lotter/Montgomery convoy opted to continue the journey out to Pniel, targeting the always fabulous Hillcrest Berry Orchard, where in the end we feasted on some of the most delectable scones, cream and jam you’ll find anywhere in the Cape!
After an enjoyable kuier, it was time to part ways, meaning a trip back to Gordon’s Bay for Chantelle, Jessie and I, which really brings me to the end of this little weekend update post.
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! ;)
Busy scoping out possible markets for Chantelle to market her Cookies & Cakes venture at, we headed out to Hathersage Farm Market on what turned out to be the most perfect of days in terms of weather.
And of course on sunny days like these, what’s better than a grassy spot under a big shady tree!
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