We used to visit the kid friendly Mondeor Restaurant at the Cape Garden Centre in Somerset West (close to Monkey Town) quite a bit in the past. Unfortunately though, the restaurant changed ownership and honestly – the change did not go all that smoothly and resulted in a restaurant that is a lot different in tone from what it used to be.
Nevertheless, politics and people aside, the venue itself remains a great one for those of us with small kids, and so if you are looking for a bright and breezy spot complete with entertainment for small children, then Mondeor still nicely fits the bill.
As always, if you are going to visit and the weather is good, make sure to pack in your kids’ swimming costumes – they might not forgive you otherwise!
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Oh, and yes, as is tradition, the girls did their sand art.
For some or other reason, Chantelle decided to challenge herself by having not one, but two birthday parties for Jessica (turning five) this year.
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.
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.
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.
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! :)
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Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant
Oops. Found this folder of photos I completely forgot to post to the blog last year November, taken on one of our outings post Jess’ birthday party to Mondeor Garden Restaurant.
How do I know it was post-birthday? Well mainly because Jessica was totally rocking out in her brand new (and thoroughly awesome) Rainbow Dash swimming costume! :)
Oh, and we spotted our first Father Christmas statue in November as well (at Willowbridge Mall).
Can’t say I quite remember as to why we were both at Willowbridge in Durbanville and then Mondeor in Somerset West on the same day though!
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If I look back to winter, then quite a lot of my weekends with the girls looked like this – after all, we had a pretty pleasant winter in terms of weather this year:
1) Spend a little time playing at home while I do a couple of household chores. (Mind you, quite often joined by the other little girls in the complex!)
2) Spend some time eating pancakes and playing in the sand pit at Root 44 Market.
3) Enjoy a drink and play on the jungle gyms at Mondeor Garden Restaurant (with Chantelle during her split).
4) Sundays almost always involved pony rides and pancakes at Blaauwklippen Family Market.
5) And yes, every now and then the girls would help me do a little shopping. They rather enjoy the trips through to Cape Garden Centre mind you. I wonder why…
And these photos? They’re all taken on just one pleasant weekend back in June!
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In hindsight, seems a pretty decent way of spending one’s weekends then, don’t you think? :)
So this year marked the sixth year that I’ve been married to Chantelle. This year around though, our anniversary day fell on a Saturday, and this being a weekend where Chantelle was working (and stressed in trying to get things organized for Jessica’s big birthday parties – yes, “parties” and not “party”), there was to be no chance for a proper wedding anniversary celebration this time around.
(Last year we did a lot better mind you).
So last weekend was spent shopping with Jessica and Emily at Somerset Mall (we did buy some roses for Chantelle), stopping at McDonalds (because this is something that Jessica now asks for. We didn’t buy Chantelle a McFlurry though), and joining up with Chantelle for a celebratory (but kid-interrupted) drink at a bustling Bossa Social Cafe and Bar in Somerset West.
Not particularly romantic.
We tried again on Sunday, but again, small kids don’t really make for romantic wedding anniversary celebration locale selection!
So pink milkshake at Mondeor Garden Restaurant it was.
Maybe next year we’ll plan ahead and do it properly! ;)
(Which reminds me. It’s six years later and I just realized that I still haven’t gotten around to posting our wedding photos on my blog. I guess I really ought to get around to doing that sometime. That said, it’s been a year and I still haven’t fixed our front door glass – so I wouldn’t exactly hold my breathe on the photos front then if I were you!)
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I’ve mentioned a couple of times now just how many kids parties we have during the October/November period, and to be honest, I’ve kind of lost count.
Let’s just put it this way – last weekend we had three parties spread over two days!
Sounds exhausting right?
I have to say, it’s been some time since we’d last visited Cheeky Monkey, and pleasingly they’ve made what had been a slightly run down play area into a much more inviting and enjoyable outside environment.
And whilst the kids didn’t don their costumes and play in the waterslide, they had more than enough fun tearing about the massive play area!
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From there we made the trip through to Kraaifontein for Logan’s super hero-themed birthday party at Michelle and Damen’s house.
The kids had a ball playing together (they’re reaching a really nice age now), and decorating the cookie men was a massive hit.
However, I suspect what really stole the show for the kids was when Damen emerged in his raincoat, ready to be pelted by energetically flung water balloons and water guns!
(Even Emily seemed to enjoy herself, though every now and then she would take some time out from all the chaos and just… chill)
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(Mind you, on the note of Logan’s birthday parties – I don’t think that I ever mentioned what we did for Logan’s fourth birthday party in 2014. Held on a small party farmyard setup, last year Damen, Evan and I found ourselves catching a sheep for the entertainment of everybody. Poor thing must have gotten the fright of its life when I reached down and bear hugged it to claim the catch!)
(Hint: we weren’t particularly entertaining as sheep catchers, which makes sense when you consider that none of us were raised on a farm!)
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Anyway, back on track. Sunday finished off with a big Frozen-themed birthday party for Jessica’s playschool friend Lisa.
Sadly this time around though, the weather didn’t quite play along, meaning that the children had to longingly look at Mondeor Restaurant’s outside play area from behind the plastic curtains.
Still, they quickly recovered and overwhelmed the sand art station instead! :)
At the beginning of the month, whilst Chantelle was working her weekend shift, Jessica, Emily and I nipped out to surprise her by buying some flowers from the Paardevlei Farmers Market.
The market was a lot, lot quieter than last time, so it was a more relaxed visit for the girls and me, with us picking up a fun toddler story book for Emily and some pancakes for Jessica.
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Speaking of the Paardevlei Farmers Market, I actually received a mail from the organiser Elsje Schoeman regarding my post about our visit to her market on opening day, and whilst annoyed at some of my commentary, she was quite upbeat about the fact that they had secured an official Parkrun association for next year and that they were in the process of looking for a better premises to run the market out of (one of my gripes had been the unsuitable building that the market currently operates out of).
However, things appear to have gone downhill since then – on October 23 Paardevlei Farmers Market released the following to their Facebook page:
“PAARDEVLEI FARMERS MARKET STATUS: Due to the non-compliance of Trigger Fish for illegally selling beer without an on consumption licence, we have decided to retract from operating our market on their premises. We have been victimised, our marketing signs for directions have been removed with intent, we as the market owners were dictated to what and how we can sell. We were promised a building size of 300 square metres and ended up trading mostly outside the Trigger Fish Building. Due to the ongoing bullying by the owner and the enforcement of signing a very one sided contract [which will be also published], we will endeavour to continue with our market in another building. For now, the market will be closed until further notice. Extensive alterations to this heritage building has been done prior to the opening of the market without any approval from the City of Cape Town.”
And given the “strong” character of Elsje (who we had worked under a few times during her involvement in managing the Slow Food Markets – Stellenbosch and Willowbridge), it was no surprise to see this even more angry post come in two days later:
“Luckily social media is a platform to open discussion, and yes, the market is very prepared to face the music for any negative feedback, the sequence of events: 1. we applied for an event at The Foundry Building and was granted a permit; 2. we were bulldozed to trade at Trigger Fish with a contract that was limiting us to grow organically and dictated by someone who wanted to open a market on his premises 2 years ago; 3. on the launch date of the market, Saturday 29 August, someone reported the non compliance of Trigger Fish to the police, a huge reputational risk for us 4. the market was not allowed to sell any coffee, wine or mcc to pair with food dictated again by the current tenant, 5. we sourced our own vegetables and we take the risk at the end of the day, 6. the original 300 square building was promised to us, we could only use less than a 1/3, 7. the times of the market was dictated to by the owner of Trigger Fish, it changed 3 times, 8. we were bullied many times, threatened that they can close the market anytime, 9. they tried to find a reason to work us out when they realised we are sourcing a new building 10. our signs were damaged and removed, the security went into our store room without our consent, 11. R5000 fines were introduced if we exceed our market times, but we were the only ones bringing feet to Trigger Fish 12. this is our story and we do not have anything to hide and carry a very transparent authentic business ethic. Bullied, victimised and discredited is an understatement in the manner in which we were allowed to trade.”
Pity. So for now Paardevlei Farmers Market remains closed, which is sad because I rather enjoyed the closeness of the location. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve when they make their big return!
Seeing as Chantelle was feeling a little left out on the day though, I organised for the girls and I to meet her for a milkshake at Mondeor Garden Restaurant during her split, which of course was a hit with the girls.
Milkshake, jungle gyms and sand art – what more could a girl possibly ask for? ;)
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Back in April this year we enjoyed a nice long weekend thanks to Freedom Day falling on a Monday, and looking back at the photos, it looks like we might just have filled up the weekend with visits to perennial weekend favourites of ours – namely Root 44 market, Mondeor Garden Restaurant, and of course, ponies and pancakes at the Blaauwklippen Family Market.
Seems like a decent way to spend a family-orientated weekend to me! :)
And Monday the public holiday? Well that saw us drive through to Grabouw of all places.
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Related Link: Freedom Day
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!
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! :)
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! :(
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! :)
Of course, plenty of photos with my phone camera were taken on the day:
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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)
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:
Can you just imagine having to wash and dry those? :)
Related Link: http://helderbergplaas.co.za/