A couple of weekends ago, Chantelle and I decided to treat the girls to an outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (a treat because its a pretty expensive family outing thanks to the high priced tickets).
For a change, the weather was good and following the girls and my stop at a few markets in the morning, we returned home to scoop up an awaiting Chantelle and hit the N2 to Cape Town!
Little has obviously changed at the Two Oceans Aquarium over the years, so there isn’t really anything new for us as adults to take in (in fact, a couple of the exhibits are actually closed to the public at the moment, making those pricey tickets a tad more painful in the process), but for Jess it proved to be a surefire hit – her being finally old enough (our last visit was two years ago when she was three) to really enjoy the various exhibits.
She would excitedly listen to everything we told her (which mostly we read off the information boards above the displays), and then rattle it off to the nearest person that she could, skipping around from display to display!
(Amazingly, Finding Nemo still holds strong for the kids, as she very firmly proclaimed that her favourite fishes were without a doubt the clown fishes.)
As always then, the Aquarium was a solid outing, with both girls seemingly enjoying the experience.
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Following our walkabout looking at all the fishes, we opted to tuck into some fishies and stopped for a late lunch at the adjacent Shoreline Cafe. Again, the restaurant experience proved nothing to really write home about, but the girls did particularly enjoy running round in the awesome kids play area.
With lunch done and the girls particularly sticky from the ice cream all over their faces, we took a stroll back towards the parking garage to catch The Scratch Patch before it closed, pausing to admire the small navy vessel moored next to the aquarium and chuckle at the big seal taking a break on the very clever seal decks that Waterfront now plays host to.
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Luckily, we made the gemstone world with about a half an hour to go before closing time, enough time for the girls to excitedly scratch around and collect a host of colourful and beautiful gemstones that then needless to say, lay scattered across every walking surface in my house for the next couple of weeks! :)
(These little stones are a mission back at one’s own house I tell you!)
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Although we didn’t go away for this Easter Weekend (plus, Chantelle worked on the two public holidays), the girls and I certainly did get up to a lot of fun activities, one of which was a family outing to the V&A Waterfront in order to go gemstone mining at the legendary Scratch Patch!
Both Chantelle and I remember going there at least once as a child, and so it was with great excitement that we took Jessica and Emily there, confident that Jess would love digging around in all the colourful stones!
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but after you enter the small Mineral World shop (accessed through the parking garage, no entrance fee), pick your container size that you want to take in with you (a good selection of sizes, ranging from cheap to pricey), you enter a tiny wonderland that is the perfect little place for kids to start hunting in.
Shaped like a little cavern with natural light streaming in above you, both girls immediately got stuck into the task of hunting out the best, most colourful gemstones, and before long both mommy and daddy were sitting sprawled on the floor, picking out the shiniest of the lot with them!
Although we didn’t get to it (because Jess and Emily are still to young), there is even an artificial cave mini-golf experience tacked on – which looks like it could be a good treat for the kids as well.
Anyway, after much time was spent scratching around like chickens, we emerged, Jessica triumphantly clutching her bag full of beautiful gemstones!
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Of course, you can’t just go to the V&A Waterfront and not stroll around the Waterfront, so that is exactly what we did. It’s the first time we’ve walked through the new Watershed shopping area and I have to say, I was suitably impressed. So fresh and modern, definitely the upgrade that particular area needed!
For lunch we swung into the Shoreline Cafe in the Two Oceans Aquarium, where some delicious fish and chips were had whilst Jessica ran wild in the kid’s play area, while dessert for the day was of course the ever so expensive but always delicious ice cream from Haagen-Dasz (Chantelle insisted!).
With one last play at the slides around the amphitheater done and dusted, it was time to pack up and head back home to Gordon’s Bay, satisfied with an awesome day out!
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Related Link: http://www.scratchpatch.co.za/
HMS Iron Duke is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, and the third ship to bear the name. Iron Duke was launched on 2 March 1991 by Lady King in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington. Her affiliated town is Kingston upon Hull, and she is named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington (the “Iron Duke”). She was the fifth Duke-class Type 23 frigate to be launched for the Royal Navy, at a cost of £140 million.
The motto of Iron Duke is Virtutis Fortuna Comes (latin: “Fortune is the companion of valour”) – inherited from the 33rd (The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment of Foot.
Iron Duke carries a number of weapons and sensors which make her a multi-purpose combat vessel. Like all T23s, her original design role was anti-submarine warfare, but she can be employed in a variety of roles. She carries a Lynx Helicopter which can be used in an anti-submarine and anti-surface role as well as for humanitarian and search and rescue purposes.
Iron Duke has intercepted several large consignments of illegal drugs being sent from the Caribbean to Europe, in many cases with the aid of embarked United States Coast Guard personnel. She was also involved in action off Libya in 2011 on her way back from a patrol in the Persian Gulf.
More recently, Iron Duke has been the First of Class fit for the Royal Navy’s new Type 997 Artisan 3D, successfully firing her missile system, using the new radar combined with the updated ‘SWMLU’ Seawolf missile targeting system, in the English Channel.
Back in August 2014, the Iron Duke received a 21 gun salute as she approached Robben Island to dock at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and of course we couldn’t exactly miss the chance to head out and go and see her in her full glory.
We were joined on the day by Evan, Natasha and little Evalynne (though by “joined”, it is more fair to say that they beat us to it), and in the end everyone had quite a nice time out, soaking up the sun and vibe that usually comes from a visit out to the Waterfront.
It must be said though, I don’t think that Jessica and Evalynne were quite as impressed with the great grey hunk of metal and missiles as what their daddies were – so, so many guns, plus a helicopter, not to mention torpedoes! Seriously, what more could a guy ask for?
(Chantelle on the other hand was quite impressed with all the lads manning the walkabout. Something or other about big guns, uniforms, and what not…)
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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Iron_Duke_(F234)
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!
Staying at home on a weekend is never fun, which is exactly why the Sunday before last (after a busy Saturday of first little Devon’s birthday party in Constantia, then little Evanlynne’s birthday party in Durbanville, and finally a big family and friends waterblommetjie potjie kos and rugby get together with the Montgomery Clan, Bernard and his family, as well as Retha and Miguel, in Bellville), we slipped out of the Montgomery Clan Stronghold (obviously, we spent the evening there) and headed down to the V&A Waterfront with the primary objective being for Chantelle to check out their much touted food market.
Sadly the food market was fairly disappointing, but thankfully the little excursion was not, and all in all we enjoyed our little trip through to that side of Cape Town (in other words, we don’t normally head out that way!).
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It was a weekend of ups and downs I suppose one could say – after all, things certainly didn’t run as what we had planned, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable weekend in the end I reckon.
The public holiday followed by the school holiday meant that Jessica was staying over with Oupa and Ouma for Thursday and Friday night. This of course meant that after closing out work with an enjoyable four man game of table tennis between Tristan, Stephen, Simon and myself, I drove out to Somerset Mall to meet up with Chantelle for a date night, kicking off with Spur and then ending with a viewing of Disney/Pixar’s Brave in 3D, and enjoyable tale that capped a nice evening spent in each other’s company.
Having earlier decided to skip doing a market due to the heavy storm weather predicted for the weekend, Chantelle and I could sleep in on Saturday morning for a change, before eventually arising to a delicious and decadent breakfast of French Toast with Bacon prepared by wifey.
We packed for the overnight stay and headed out to Bellville, where we first popped in to Cabs for some baking supplies, followed by a trip to Willowbridge where we had a look for ourselves at how the market was going. Judging on how quiet it seemed, we ended up being pretty happy with our decision to can Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes market appearance for this one!
Our original plan for Saturday had been to either go to World of Birds in Hout Bay or the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront depending on the weather, but these were dashed when we arrived at the Montgomery Stronghold to a rather shaky and sick little Jessica, forcing us to instead spend the afternoon inside keeping warm, venturing out only for a quick (but expensive) trip to M-Kem in Bellville for a doctor’s once over on Jessica.
Western Province versus the Natal Sharks was the rugby game of the evening to take in, which was combined with a delicious supper of fillet done on the coals together with beer chicken prepared on the Weber. Mom and Dad joined us for this one (bring with them delicious pudding), and the result was an enjoyable evening of family and of course rugby and athletics. And one sick toddler lest we forget.
In fact, Jessica was feeling so icky that she simply refused to go to sleep, resulting in me sitting up with her until midnight (everyone had long since gone to sleep), only finally succumbing to exhaustion halfway through an episode of Shaun the Sheep: Championsheeps on DSTV. Managing to successfull transfer her to our bed, it was off to slumber for a brief, but fairly interrupted snooze.
We took our time getting started on Sunday, but pleasingly the weather was far less menacing than what had been predicted, meaning that with Jessica pumped full of meds and thus feeling fairly stable, it was off to the Two Oceans Aquarium plus a walkabout the Waterfront, an expedition which in the end all three of us ended up thoroughly enjoying.
And in case you were wondering, the aquarium turned out to be quite the big hit with young Jessica, despite the fact that her excitement is normally reserved only for those with feathers and wings! :)
Having eventually seen enough of our fishy friends, it was time to eat some for a late lunch at Fisherman’s Friend, before making our way back to the car park and then finally home, where we somehow managed to eventually get Jessica to bed and entertained ourselves with the always silly Leon Schuster in the chuckle-worthy slapstick that is There’s a Zulu On My Stoep.
And that, was that.
Chantelle, Jessica and I enjoyed a rare Sunday off as the three of us paid a visit to the always awesome Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront. Pleasingly, Jessica seemed to quite enjoy her first ever outing to this fishy wonderland! :)
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Seeing as this weekend past was another Single Parent weekend for me, and other than Jessica attending a birthday party, me working on the driveway, and enjoying lunch with the folks in Bellville on Sunday, there really isn’t all that much to give feedback on, so perhaps it would make more sense to chat about the weekend before that, which we used as a quasi celebration of our 2nd wedding anniversary.
To start off with, Friday night was an interesting one, in that Chantelle decided to reward me and give me a bit of a break from Jessie, meaning she whisked my daughter away with her to Bellville, where she spent the night in the company of her family and hours of Come Dine with Me South Africa recordings.
As for me, I immediately hit up KFC for a proper bachelor, greasy supper, before doing all things nerdy like watching anime, catching up on some blogging, playing Dante’s Inferno and most important of all, sitting down to watch the gritty Batman: Year One animated DVD that had just come in via Takealot.
So a good evening in terms of entertaining myself, but actually a pretty lonely evening and not something I’m looking to do in a hurry any time soon. Anyway, Saturday morning was spent catching up on all the chores and working in the garden, before I got ready and shot through to Bellville, where I picked up Chantelle for our date evening.
Our target: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay, to catch the 17:00 show of Alan Committie’s latest one man comedy show, Happily Ever Laughter.
The official blurb:
Alan Committie is back at Theatre on the Bay in his brand-new, hilariously happy stand-up comedy show Happily Ever Laughter!!
In this side-splitting new comedy revue, award-winning comic madman, Alan Committie returns to his one-man roots and explores everything from Royal Weddings to Nursery Rhymes; from the Twilight movie series to Disney princesses and all that’s in-between, including a “do-it-yourself 1980’s music video” demonstration; classic arguments; and a rather extensive look at The Harry Potter Movie Franchise.
But this is a one-man show with a difference! It co-stars Jo Galloway (Boeing- Boeing, Dick and I and Perfect Wedding) who joins Committie in exploring the fairy tale existence of life in 2011!
The show will include sketches, characters and loads of silly observations as only Committie can provide. And Johan van der Walt, security guard extra-ordinaire, makes an appearance to talk about National Anthems.
As per usual, we walked away very, very entertained, with Alan (as always) on top of his game, drawing the laughs from the crowd right from start to finish. Jo was a bit of a disappointment though, with her performance feeling very much… well, like a performance, meaning that there was too much acting and not enough natural comedy.
As a whole, the show was pretty well done, though the singing, musical segments didn’t really fit all that well and could probably have been done without. I can only imagine they were squeezed in there for Jo. The costume changes were well done, all Alan’s favourite characters made their appearance and as a special, their projected segments of remade movies were quite the riot! Oh, and let’s not forget the hilarious 80’s music video ending! :)
(And as an added bonus though, I did get picked on – for the first time ever – as Alan went through his hilarious cold-reading send-up of John Edwards!)
Now completely stress-free, we decided to follow up the evening’s entertainment with a trip through to the V&A Waterfront, a place I haven’t been to in well over a year. After walking around for a fair bit, loving the addition of the beautifully lit up Ferris wheel but at the same time feeling disappointed that the place hadn’t changed at all in all the time I haven’t been there, we capped off our outing with a delicious supper at the Cape Town Fish Market, where Chantelle got to grips with some fantastic sushi and I played catch with my Surf and Turf.
And then because we’re old and parents now, we drove back to Bellville to get our beauty sleep in preparation for Jessie’s usual 06:00 morning wake up! ;)
Sunday morning was spent lazing around with the Montgomery clan, before we packed everything up and hopped in the car to Kraaifontein, after first picking up some snacks, to visit with Damen and Michelle and for me to get my first introduction to their newly born bundle of joy, little Logan Alexander.
After an enjoyable visit, it was back home, where we got to grips with the usual Sunday routine before breaking with tradition and ending the night off with some home made pizzas, which were as per usual absolutely yummy.
And that, was our weekend.