Tag Archives: birthday

Fine Dining at Overture at Hidden Valley Wines in Stellenbosch (2020-12-05) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 APR 2021

While my 40th birthday unfortunately fell in the middle of South Africa’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns (hello swing-ball in my garden and a rainbow cake from Chantelle), thankfully we were a little more lucky come December when Chantelle’s big 40 also came rolling into town. Kids safely dropped off with the grandparents in Bellville, we turned our attention to the big one – an exquisite five course gourmet dinner at the highly acclaimed, awarded winning Overture restaurant.

On the edge of Stellenbosch, tucked away in the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain above the vineyards of Hidden Valley Wines, Overture holds the distinction of being restaurateur and chef extraordinaire Bertus Basson’s first restaurant. Established in 2007, Overture quickly began winning accolade after accolade, swiftly rising up in the ranks of South Africa fine dining establishments, and with it, elevating the name of Bertus Basson. Known for celebrating South African produce like ethically-sourced fish and organic maize, these days head chef Drikus Brink and his kitchen team continue the mission of serving honest, simple, produce-driven cooking based on classical techniques.

Well that’s what the website says anyway. ‘Simple’ isn’t how I would describe the incredible menu at all! We opted to pair a wine tasting with our five course meal, an excellent idea as the broad spectrum of excellent wines suited each dish to perfection. From start to finish the food was exemplary. The canapés, the raw yellowtail, the roasted aubergine, the pork belly, the beef, the beetroot, the dessert – absolute fine dining heaven.

The plating, the simple stone decor, the view over the vineyards, the mountains, the brass fittings, the wine, the sculptures, having Bertus and his wife enjoying a meal an arm’s length away from us – this was an absolutely incredible experience for a foodie such as Chantelle and definitely one that was much enjoyed!

Breakfast with a View at Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch (2020-12-06) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 14 MAR 2021

Geologist Gary Jordan and economist Kathy Jordan have as a husband and wife team been making world-class wines since 1993, on a 300 year old farm which their parents purchased back in 1982. Now standing at 104 hectares in size, the Jordan Wine Estate produces a bevy of award winning wines from the range of grape varietals that it has planted in its vineyards, and like any good wine estate in the Cape Winelands today, Jordan offers a full visitor experience with its award winning signature restaurant, more relaxed bistro, luxury accommodation options, picnics on the lawn, and of course the all important tasting and tours.

At this point in the game, despite the global Covid-19 pandemic swirling all around us, Chantelle was certainly enjoying quite the nice 40th birthday (which was definitely going much better than what mine did due to the stricter lockdowns of earlier in the year). Having treated her to a spectacular evening of fine dining at Bertus Basson’s immaculate Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley, the morning of her birthday saw us shuttle through in search of the rather hidden Jordan wine estate, where we were booked in for a sumptuous morning of breakfast with a view.

Opting to dine ‘al fresco’ on The Bakery@Jordan’s recently completed wooden deck, we sat in the shade of its huge overhanging trees, looking out over lush green lawns, pretty shrubs and a very tranquil dam, with the rolling hills and distant mountain vista of Stellenbosch laid out before us. Eggs benedict with a thick Hollandaise sauce and good coffee completed the scene, as we eagerly got down to the serious work of relaxing a little before the next celebration event kicked off.

Jessica Birthday Fun at Wild Wild West Kids Play Park in Strand (2018-11-11) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 16 JUN 2019

Last year Jessica took the option of enjoying a nice big birthday party with her friends and as such, we ended up taking her and a couple of her school pals to the awesome Wild Wild West Kids Play Park out in Strand industria to celebrate her eighth birthday.

Situated in a nice big warehouse with no residential houses nearby to complain about noise, kids can properly run wild as they tackle Wild Wild West’s Cowboys and Indians themed six level high climbing grid maze, climbing wall, 5m high slides, highline balance course, and Ninja Warrior course!

As you might then imagine, the girls had an absolute blast running themselves ragged on the exceptionally high quality wooden structures and at the end of the day, loads of fun was had by all (even if it does tend to run a little hot in the not that well ventilated industrial space).

Unfortunately for us on the day though, Wild Wild West’s little catering kitchen wasn’t particularly well stocked (not sure why, we had made the necessary inquiries beforehand), but luckily that was something easily solved by a jaunt down to nearby McDonalds (at Waterstone Village – they’ve got the nicest space) in order to feed and thus appease the pack of now ravenous young ladies.

And as if that fun day out with her friends wasn’t enough, Jess also got treated to Belgian Waffle House waffles, finally got her hands on a scooter (which at first ruthlessly extracted a lot of skin off her knees!) and, as a cherry on top, a lot more Lego.

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Emily Turns 4 Birthday Party at Country Mews (2018-01-20) Photo Gallery 17 FEB 2019

Oh dear, Emily’s 5th birthday has come and gone already this year, and I have to admit, we kind of didn’t get around to hosting a party for her. We did take her out to Spur on her actual birthday, and Chantelle’s folks treated her to an afternoon outing the next day, but actual birthday party with friends and family – whoops, kind of didn’t get around to it.

Last year we did a whole lot better though. We threw a nice pink and purple unicorn themed party for all the friends at our house, complete with cake, games, treats and by far the highlight of the get together, Chantelle’s paint your own unicorn biscuits.

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Egg Dipped Croissants at Pajamas and Jam in Strand (2017-12-06) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 24 MAR 2018

Chantelle’s favourite little Helderberg restaurant is without a doubt one of the more unusual ones to be found in the area.

In the shadow of an old decommissioned naval helicopter perched on top the roof, flanked by both the family-run scrap dealer business and costume hire shop to either side, and situated in the heart of the very unsexy Strand industrial area, is the neatly painted, slightly unassuming, Pajamas +Jam Eatery.

Never mind that though – as with most of these little gems, it is on the inside where all the magic happens.

Run by a mother and her two daughters team, the premises of Pajamas and Jam houses a large collection of neatly arranged junk (sorry, I’ve been informed that those are all antiques and collectibles), in the middle of which is a fair number of mix and match tables and chairs.

To the side, hidden just behind the mouth wateringly decadent cake and bakes table is the kitchen, from which the most interesting and on trend foods are wheeled out on a constant basis. The use of top notch ingredients means an ever changing, well thought out menu that goes out of its way to surprise and delight.

Because of the decor and quality food, this eatery is by far more popular with the ladies than the men, and that shows, with the restaurant packed to the brim from early morning already. (Honestly, it’s always a gamble as to whether or not you’re going to get a space there!)

As I mentioned at the top of this post, given the fact that Pajamas and Jam is a firm favourite of Chantelle’s, it made perfect sense to head out that way for her (kid-free) birthday breakfast back in December last year.

Fancy french toast, deconstructed croissants and what not – no wonder she likes this place as much as what she does! ;)

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Brownie points scored.

Related Link: Pajamas + Jam Eatery | Strand

Jessica Turns 7 Birthday Party at Country Mews (2017-11-11) My Life | Photo Gallery 09 MAR 2018

Jessica turned 7 in November last year, and unlike Emily’s 4th birthday a handful of months ago in January, I actually remembered to take some photos on the actual day!

With Chantelle still building her home baking business from the ground up, we decided to host Jessie’s party at our house once again, which of course then meant all the fun and games that goes into prepping for it.

As per usual Chantelle did ALL the work, though this time around we thought it fun to let Jessica decorate her very own birthday cake – something she seemed rather appreciative of!

The drop-off and go party setup meant our yard was inundated with a gaggle of excited little girls (no boys allowed), and pleasingly all our usual party games went swimmingly well.

Present opening, jungle gym, and games aside, the girls were also more than little chuffed at the idea of getting stuck into the kitchen to make and bake their very own cookies! (With a little expert guidance from Chantelle of course…)

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The weather was great, the girls had fun, and so I guess yet another successful birthday celebration is now in the bag.

(P.S. The biscuits were surprisingly not half bad in the end.)

Emily Turns 3 Birthday Party at Kidz Corner Indoor Playpark in Strand (2017-01-21) My Life | Photo Gallery 23 JAN 2018

Continuing the theme I started yesterday of “I completely forgot to take photos of Emily’s 4th birthday party last weekend, so I best upload all the other birthdays before I lose everything to a hard drive failure”, here are some photos I grabbed from Emily’s 3rd birthday party, which we held last year January for all her friends at the Kidz Corner Indoor Playpark in Strand.

Emily was, or rather is, besotted with Peppa Pig, so of course she demanded a Peppa Pig cake for her birthday. Naturally Chantelle obliged (not to mention went to a lot of trouble in terms of the rest of the catering), and from all accounts the party was a nice success – i.e. the kids all seemed to have a lot of fun!

For the family part of the celebrations, we organised a get together around the cake at my folks’ place in Bellville, which ended up being pretty enjoyable too.

There, mission accomplished, these photos are now all nicely safe and sound up in the cloud.

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(Oh, and if you want to know more about Kidz Corner, turns out I’ve written about them before.)

Jessica Turns 6 Birthday Party at Country Mews (2016-11-12) My Life | Photo Gallery 22 JAN 2018

This weekend we celebrated Emily’s fourth birthday with a party here at our house in Country Mews, Gordon’s Bay. For some reason I completely forgot to take any photos on the day – very strange for me, I know!

That got me thinking though. I’m reasonably sure that I haven’t posted any photos of the girls’ recent birthdays to the blog – something I reckon I had better rectify sooner than later before I lose everything due to an untimely hard drive crash!

So anyway, at the end of 2016 we celebrated Jessica’s sixth birthday with a full on party day at our house, the first session of the day belonging to Jessica and her school/complex friends and their folks, and the second celebrated with our family and friends with their kids.

So two parties in one day – turns out it is possible, but man is it exhausting! :)

(For reference, there was a mermaid cake, cupcake decorating, snow globe making, jungle gym tumbling, present unwrapping, happy birthday singing, and of course lots and lots of party packs! Oh, and put-it-together-yourself hamburgers too.)

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They’re growing up so fast these days! :)

A Birthday Rainbow Cake Surprise (2016-05-15) Photo Gallery 19 MAY 2016

On Sunday we enjoyed a brilliant braai at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, welcoming back Rob and Tarryn who had just returned from their 3 week long honeymoon holiday in Thailand! It was brilliant to hear all about the sights and sounds that they had encountered, leaving both Chantelle and myself super jealous in the process!

IMG_20160515_162552 birthday rainbow cake from the velvet cake co

The best part of the day was however dessert time, when out of the blue, Chantelle came strolling out carrying a rainbow cake of all things! What I didn’t know was that it was a surprise cake for me in celebration of my birthday that had fallen earlier in the week, which meant that I got the Full Monty in terms of having Happy Birthday sung to me and blowing out the candles (which of course, Jessica did on my behalf).

I love rainbow cakes in general – how can one not like this happy clappy cake! – and this particular one from The Velvet Cake Co. (situated in Rosenpark, Bellville) was delicious, tasting as good as what it looks!

What a nice Sunday surprise.

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Related Link: The Velvet Cake Co.