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:
We enjoyed a great end of December family vacation in the seaside holiday/fishing village of Gouritz (aka Gouritsmond) last year. One of the nice little discoveries that we made whilst there was this tiny little coffee shop squeezed into the premises of Swanepoel Algemene Handelaars (General Dealer) on the outskirts of the town.
Koffie Stories (which is now in its new location and under new ownership) has kind of drifted from its original premise as being Gouritz’s first ever coffee shop where you could actually go for a cup of coffee and pay to hear a story told by one of the locals, transforming itself instead into a more conventional coffee shop/eatery (and art gallery), though still sporting a very homely atmosphere.
The coffee is not bad (and well priced), but the real draw card is by far their dessert filled pancakes – with the milk tart filled and peppermint crisp tart filled pancakes demanding that we go for tea pretty much each and every day that we stayed there!
So just a heads up then if you have a sweet tooth and find yourself in Gouritz one day…
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(Also map in case you too need to taste these rather tasty dessert pancakes)
After a year or two of going to quite a few weekend markets, this year has seen us attend pretty much none! However, it was the Sunday just before I was to leave on my business trip to the USA, and with Chantelle at home with us for a change, we decided to treat the girls to some pancakes and ponies at the Blaauwklippen Family Market… though unfortunately for Jess’ sake, there was nary a pony in sight when we got there!
However, the disappointment was short lived, as we pretty much went directly to the (long!) queue at the ever popular Catje’s Pancakes stall in order to grab a big bunch of pancakes for the Lotters.
The market was super busy with people, so getting the pancakes took a while, but the plus side of this though was that it gave Chantelle plenty of time to browse through the other stalls and put together a nice selection of different snacks in the process!
If you have never been to this market before, then you’re missing out, because it is definitely one with the nicest vibe. There is always a good buzz, the live music never disappoints, the kids are generally entertained, and there is a brilliant selection of arts, crafts, fashion and food stalls for the browsing.
Plus, the venue itself is quite the stunner!
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(Oh, and because it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t really come up with any excuse not to cap off the day with a braai once we eventually got back home!)
With Chantelle working on Sunday last week, and Retha off on a wedding shoe shopping trip, I decided to treat the girls to some pancakes and ponies, and so off we hopped down the R44 and made our way under the beautiful sunshine to a bustling, vibey Blaauwklippen wine estate.
We arrived to the uptempo beat of an unexpected junior drum majorettes (drummies) display, a show that had Jessica complete and utterly entranced. She was super excited by all the flags, maces and sequins, and very assuredly told me at the end of the routine that she wasn’t definitely going to be doing drummies when she goes to the big school!
(Which I’m sure would make Auntie Claire and Granny Cheryl super happy!)
Another event which got the little ones excited was the dynamic duo of a guy on his guitar and a girl on her violin pumping out some fantastic tunes (Dirkie & Talisa – very entertaining!), which entranced Jess and Emily to such an extent that they were happily dancing along front and center!
Catje’s Pancakes as always was a hit with the girls (and dad), but sadly for Jessica, she missed out on a pony ride because just as we sat down to enjoy our pancakes, Pearl the pony was led back to the stable for a bit of a rest break!
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We couldn’t stay and wait for her break to be over though – no, we needed to get back to Strand for Annabella’s birthday party, which was to feature this…
…which amazingly Jessica absolutely loved to bits! (Emily not so much).
Related Link: Blaauwklippen Family Market
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? :)
Weekend days with no birthday party celebrations pencilled in for October/November are pretty rare, but we did get one of these beauties towards the end of last month. Sadly though, Chantelle was working, which meant that it was up to the girls and I to entertain ourselves over the course of the morning with some much needed clothing (and extra LEGO bricks) shopping.
(Oh, and a stop for a cheeseburger, milkshake and play time at Waterstone Village’s McDonalds, because all of a sudden Jess is rather a big fan of doing this!)
As it turned out, Chantelle was working a split shift on the day, so I gave her a call and told her to come join us for some pancakes and ponies at the Blaauwklippen Family Market, a place we haven’t visited for a couple of weeks now.
Naturally, she jumped at the opportunity to escape Gordon’s Bay, and pretty soon the four of us were in Stellenbosch, lounging on the lawns of Blaauwklippen Wine Estate with pancake in hand, snapping selfies left, right and center! :)
As always the market was buzzing with excited people (though thanks to the Oktoberfest celebrations on the go, perhaps it was buzzing a little more than the norm), and despite the slightly overcast weather, everyone seemed to be having a ball of a time.
The girls ran around and played, I bought the kids some story books, and of course, we capped things off with a pony ride for Jess – who certainly hasn’t forgotten just how much she enjoys the experience!
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Related Link: Blaauwklippen Family Market
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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It was girls and I again last weekend, so after we did all the chores (that involved riding around trying to source fridge lightbulbs and other odds and ends), I figured it a great idea to take advantage of the unusually warm weather and drive out towards Stellenbosch for a visit at the always super popular and busy Root 44 market at Audacia.
As expected, the vibes were great, The Professors were creating some fantastic music up on stage, and Jessica and Emily enjoyed clambering about the sandpit and jungle gym.
Sadly for me though, Pure Pancakes continues to disappoint with its pancakes that leave that horrible dry, baking soda taste in your mouth once they’re done. Sigh, I really wish they’d fix their recipe! (Or at least copy Catje’s Pancakes of Blaauwklippen Market fame’s delicious recipe!)
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Oh, and because I had dressed the girls for Winter and in the end it was more like Summer, I was ‘forced’ to stop for a quick ice-cream at our local Burger King in Somerset Mall – mainly because I wanted to see what their kids play area looks like…
Turns out Emily is rather fond of ice-cream…
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And thanks to all that… stickiness, it was completely impossible for us to escape bath time come evening! :)
This past weekend was pretty wet – proper winter weather in other words. It was a work weekend for Chantelle, working a split shift on Saturday and then a full on Sunday – but neither this nor the weather was enough to stop myself and the girls from enjoying a weekend full of fun!
Although our original plan for Saturday had been to head out to The Giraffe House for some animal feeding fun, the exposed nature of the place plus the wet weather didn’t make for a great combination, and so instead the plan was changed and Chantelle, Jessica, Emily and I headed off to Joostenberg Vlakte for some fun at the far more suitable Bugz Family Playpark!
With the outdoor area shut due to the weather, all the kids were running wild in the inside play area, and despite the noise and activity, both Emily and Jessica got a kick out of stretching their legs and climbing and sliding over everything that got in their way! :)
In other words, a particularly good way to tire out both little ones and make for a rather relaxed Saturday evening back home whilst Chantelle worked out the rest of her shift…
Sunday on the other hand I was flying solo with the girls, and so I decided to make the most of a gloomy day and head out for adventure to Butterfly World, another location that works okay regardless of the weather.
First things first though, we needed to do a spot of shopping, in particular we needed to find a pair of boots for Emily. After a few failed attempts, we eventually found something suitable at Shoe City, and with Jessica’s approval on the final design chosen, Emily was at last outfitted with her very first set of gumboots – pink Princess Sofia the First ones of course!
With the shopping part of the morning now done, next up it was pancakes at Blaauwklippen Family Market (delicious as always), followed by a pony ride for Jess – seriously, she is in love with this pony ride thing!
Emily was particularly cute stomping around in her new boots mind you.
Finally, it was time for the long drive through to Klapmuts and Butterfly World, where on entry it was a nice surprise to see ticket prices lowered by 25% due to the cold weather – essentially the butterflies aren’t particularly active on wet, gloomy days.
Nevertheless, butterflies or not, Butterfly World has plenty of furry, scaly and feathered critters for the little ones to see, and as expected, Jessica and Emily had quite the ball – with us spending more than just a couple of hours wandering around the place.
We ended off the day by grabbing a bite to eat from the cafe, before jumping back in the car and making the long trip back home – with both girls enjoying quite the lengthy nap in the process!
In other words, a good weekend with my little princesses despite the miserable wet May weather! :)