Instead of the usual big Sunday lunch at one of our houses with the rest of the family for Mother’s Day, this year Chantelle came up with the idea of getting everyone together for a big celebratory picnic – settling on the gorgeous Green Point Park (in Cape Town) as the perfect venue for the event.
We arrived early on the day, and as luck would have it, we snagged a table and, more importantly, the weather played along brilliantly, dealing us with a sunshine-filled, windless Autumn day – perfect for all the little ones to run around and play.
In terms of family joining in on the fun, it was Chantelle’s mom and dad, my mom and dad, my brother, my sister and her husband, and of course all the kids – our two girls, and Claire’s three boys!
Loads of food, plenty of conversation, and lots of fun. Basically the perfect recipe for spending a full day enjoying both the company and the stunning surrounds!
With my phone’s battery currently playing up (it needs to be replaced ASAP), I didn’t exactly bother to even try and take any photos on our special picnic day – so I guess that you will just have to take my word for it then that the Green Point Urban Park is an absolutely PERFECT spot for these sort of outdoor family gatherings.
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Definitely not the worst way to have celebrated this year’s Mother’s Day then.
Related Link: Green Point Urban Park
This year was a lot different than last year for me in that 2016 was dominated by going away at least once a month for some sort of weekend getaway, whilst 2017 saw that flipped on its head and instead everything was concentrated into a single, decent length family holiday back in June (which I still need to put down on paper here).
However, Jessica and myself did manage to slip one weekend getaway in at the start of this year, when the two of us drove up to Mossel Bay to join my parents for a long weekend away at their place in the gorgeous Pinnacle Point Estate.
With Chantelle and Emily enjoying some alone time back home (honestly, the abundance of rain spiders from our 2015 visit was the reason for this particular weekend of single parenting adventures), Jessica and I got down to the serious business of enjoying a very busy/fun packed weekend with Granny and Grandpa.
Pinnacle Point is of course paradise for little girls who are now big enough to steer a golf cart, meaning that plenty of golf cart explorations were the order of the day. Too chilly to swim, we were instead entertained with jungle gyms, visits to Oyster Bay beach, braais, and LOTS of Go Fish! and Monopoly Deal in the evenings.
Mossel Bay on the other hand was perfect for wool shopping, Putt Putt (made more exciting by the multitude of motorbikes that had invaded the town for the annual Buffalo City bike rally), a round of golf with my dad at the Mossel Bay Golf Club, and of course dassie gazing at the St. Blaize Cave.
(Sadly though, we couldn’t get mom to agree to allowing us to attempt crossing the narrow entrance bridge with dad’s Lexus SUV in order to visit The Island at Great Brak River.)
So, as you can see loads of fun was had, and as an added bonus, this time around we only encountered ONE rain spider – on the very last day of our visit.
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Love this place, and can’t wait to get invited back again!
We only discovered the beautifully restored, historic Weltevreden Estate last year. Packed with all manner of interesting art and sculptures, the classic Cape Dutch manor house and homestead is home to a brilliant little eatery that trades by the fun name of Lekke Neh, a wine tasting room, conference and wedding venue facilities, exquisite grounds, and most important of all – if you have little kids like we do – a separate, super kid friendly area known as the Kids Carnival – complete with a fantastic selection of playground equipment and of course kid friendly food choices!
As it turns out, we’re not the only ones fond of this place – my sister Claire also rather enjoys it, and so despite them living all the way out in Constantia, we were surprised to get an invite to join them for a family get together for their little boy’s recent birthday celebration.
Needless to say, our girls were rather excited by the prospect of heading out to The Carnival once more!
On such a beautiful summer’s day, the kids had an absolute blast playing on and with all the kids stuff, while we got to sit back as a family and tuck into some rather satisfying food.
(That said, if there is one constant disappointment when visiting The Carnival area at Weltevreden is that the service there is really, really poor. I think we’ve been there now four or five times in total, and each and every time we have come away complaining about how bad the service actually is! Pity.)
Nevertheless, the kids had an absolute ball, and that is what it really is all about, isn’t it?
Anyway, Chantelle and I are still overdue for a proper dining session at Lekke Neh (which really looks good), so yeah, I reckon we’ll be popping in there a couple of times more before they close up shop for the winter season…
Oh, and of course when I could grab a moment, I did wander around a bit in order to snap a few pictures of this beautiful estate (which incidentally has an official heritage status – it was declared a National Monument in 1975!).
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Bonus: In case you are keen on discovering this great little gem for yourself, here is a nice and nifty map:
Two weekends ago we were out and about on the Saturday furniture shopping (Chantelle was working, so it was during her split), a completely pointless task if you have a toddler and a four year old tagging along, because invariably they quickly get bored and you end up being more busy getting them to stop touching things than actually looking at the furniture and making a decision!
Needless to say, we didn’t buy any furniture. (Though I do think that I may have spotted the lounge table I’m quite interested in buying. Plus, I continue to shudder at the thought of just how much money Poco must be losing in that horribly located new megastore of theirs… yeah, not so sure about that one.)
Anyway, in the end, we settled for a nice coffee break and play time with the kids at Mondeor Restaurant instead:
We don’t get to see my Mom and Dad that often, so it was quite a nice surprise to get a phone call from them asking if they could pop in for a visit on Sunday. Instead, I suggested that they join us earlier for a nice Sunday afternoon braai, which pleasingly they accepted.
Needless to say, Jessica was particularly thrilled to have Grandpa and Granny around for the day in her own backyard! :)
And although we kind of forgot to take some nice pictures on a Sunday well spent, I thought it worth including these couple that I got when we popped in at Mom’s house a week or so earlier when we were in the area (Dad and Ryan were out playing golf):
So yeah, always nice when the family drop by here in our little corner of the woods! :)
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Back in April this year, much of the Lotter clan assembled at Mom and Dad’s house in Oakglen to celebrate Dad’s mom, Granny Lotter’s big 80th birthday. We were blessed that the weather was particularly great on the day, thus making for a perfect braai and relax outdoor afternoon (which everyone seemed to enjoy).
Our immediate family clan is actually relatively small. Mom’s parents only had two kids, Mom and her brother Stephen, and Stephen, who has since passed on, never had any children so no cousins there. Dad’s parents had four boys, though one tragically passed away quite early on, leaving us with three Lotter men. From uncle Michael’s side we got Willie (and now his family) as a cousin, and from uncle Eric’s side, we got Andrew and David as cousins.
Sadly though, through some convoluted and ultimately bad decisions, no one sees Eric, Dawn, Andy and David any more (so scratch them from family get togethers), and funnily enough, we seldom see uncle Michael and pretty much never Willie either, meaning that for the most part, the immediate family pool remains pretty tiny!
Nevertheless, as I was saying earlier, Gran’s big 80th birthday (the celebration of which took a bit of convincing from Dad’s side to happen) saw quite a good chunk of this little family pitch up at Mom’s door – Claire, Riley and their two boys, Wille, his wife and two kids, Uncle Mike and his wife, Mom and Dad, Ryan, birthday girl Gran, and of course us four Gordon’s Bay Lotters.
A nice little tally indeed!
Needless to say, there was a lot of catching up to be done and conversation to be had, and with good food and dessert flowing freely, and kids all seemingly happily playing along, it turned out to be quite a good little family get together.
Of course, we couldn’t keep all the little faces rounded up all day (or Claire and Riley’s dogs either for that matter), which inevitably meant a hop across the street at some point in the afternoon – over to the big municipal park that had entertained us for so, so many hours as kids growing up there.
Naturally, Emily was more than just a little thrilled to tackle climbing up this massive slide! (And as you can see, Grandpa seemed to quite enjoy the challenge as well…)
Next up in terms of big birthday milestones?
Well both mom and dad are inching pretty close to that big 6 and 0 number nowadays… :)
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.
I guess our quota of public holidays are pretty much up for now, but damn, what a good run it has been. I’m not sure I even remember what a five day work week is any more! As it happens, next week will also be a four day work week for me, seeing as my birthday falls on Friday the 11th and we get off on our birthdays.
Lucky!! Seriously though, I am turning 32. 32?!? (Wow, it really is downhill after you turn 30!)
In addition to the short work weeks we’ve been enjoying, I haven’t set foot in the Westlake Touchwork office since last Wednesday – we’re moving office to new premises (still in the Westlake Business Park though), and without Internet set up yet, it doesn’t make sense for me to make the trip in, so have been instructed to rather stay and work from home. Again, lucky! (And a heap saved on petrol to boot!).
Anyway, seriously looking forward to this coming weekend though – We’ve (and by we I mean Evan) have organised a big 12 man expedition to Cape Gate Ster Kinekor on Saturday evening in order to watch Avengers – and from everything I’ve been seeing on the ‘Net, I’m in for a slice of awesome comic book movie goodness!
Which kind of reminds me that I haven’t really been filling you guys in as to what has been happening with the Lotter family over the last while. So a quick recap then. Two weekends ago (outside of all the Young Justice viewing and FIFA season mode gaming I’ve been keeping myself occupied with inbetween), Chantelle and her mom put together another successful market showing at the Willowbridge Slow Market – despite the gloomy weekend weather. During that time Jessica and I also made the trip through to Bellville first to pay a visit to Mom and Dad for a bit of grandparents and toddler time, followed by a stop in to check out Ryan’s awesome new kitchen (and grab more viewing material).
After jump-starting a woman’s car before leaving Willowbridge at the end of the afternoon, Chantelle and I capped the Saturday off by leaving Jess in Ouma and Oupa’s care, and heading out to Cape Gate, first for supper at the Spur, followed by a viewing of the harrowing but cinematically excellent Liam Neeson plane crash/blizzard/wolf survival film, “The Grey”.
Back at the Montgomery Stronghold, Jessica unfortunately didn’t have a good night, meaning a lot of awake time for the two of us, though luckily for us this didn’t continue on into Sunday, where a surprisingly enjoyable Nicholas Cage movie, “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, scuppered our plans of going out to feed the ducks in the morning. Robert was in charge of producing the excellent steak lunch which we enjoyed with the Montgomery Clan, which was followed up by a fun game of darts with Monty and Cheryl, with Chantelle and I losing both games played – though to be fair, the first game ended rather abruptly, with Cheryl’s first throw netting a Shanghai to take the unexpected win!
Of course, all of the above means that last weekend was a Chantelle on duty weekend, and outside a lot of FIFA and looking after Jessica while Chantelle was at work, I didn’t get up to all that much. However, Saturday did feature a nice interlude in that my folks came over for an afternoon home-made pizza lunch and visit (complemented by an awesome stroll around the Strand duck pond feeding all the ducks), whilst Sunday yielded an evening trip through to Bellville to drop Jessic off with the Montgomery clan – for looking after on Monday’s public holiday when the creche would be closed and both Chantelle and I would be at work in case you were wondering.
In amongst all of this, Chantelle has been producing fantabulous cakes for various orders that have streamed in, including two Barney the Dinosaur-themed cakes as well as a gloriously decadent chocolate birthday cake for Louise. And then of course there is all the preparation baking for this weekend’s market that has been going on behind the scenes…
And me? All I’ve managed to do is finally get around to sorting out and tidying up the office! Anyway, that should just about cover everything we’ve been getting up to the last while, and yes, just in case you were wondering about this as well, Jessica continues to get cuter with each and every passing day! :)
Wow, I see that I’ve been a bit sloppy when it comes to reporting on the last three weekends past, so sorry about that, I guess I had better bring you all up to speed then.
Obviously four weekends ago, the Gordon’s Bay Lotter Clan was resting with their feet up in Jacobsbaai, but that you know already. The weekend after that though, little Jessie and I caught a lift up with my Mom and Dad to Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, meeting up with Ryan and Claire for a Lotter Family weekend away (shame, Chantelle was working so she missed out). The weather played along beautifully, I got to play golf at Pinnacle Point, a picturesque journey out to George, plenty of evening Uno – in other words, apart from the incident in which Ryan nearly killed Claire by tossing the two of them out of a moving golf cart, it really was an enjoyable family weekend of some proper rest and relaxation.
The week that followed Pinnacle Point saw Chantelle and Jessica pretty much living in Bellville with her folks until the next Monday, as Chantelle was pencilled in for the laser op on her eyes, and the extended recovery time meant that she needed to be at home with her folks.
The weekend however saw me join up with my missing family, and the Saturday evening saw Chantelle and myself join up with Evan, Natasha, Ryan, Karl and Trish, for a fun-filled evening of poker (Ryan won), Uno Jenga (I lost), and then to the surprise of all involved, “Donkey”, a card and spoon-snatching game that I haven’t played since my early childhood! (I walked out unwounded, so I’m taking the win then. Evan gathered the most letters, so the loser tag belongs to him). Sunday was the big birthday celebration for my mom, and we enjoyed another great extended family get together around the fire and the big outside family table. (Oh, and I simply must add that my folks’ new front garden which was just recently landscaped looks absolutely stunning!)
As for this weekend just past, well Chantelle was back on duty as per usual, so that afforded Jessica and myself the opportunity to watch all three Lord of the Rings movies over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in preparation for next weekend’s big Trish 30th Lord of the Rings-themed party. (Wow, what an incredibly long slog I must say. But at least now I can join in on the conversation, seeing as I haven’t watched the Peter Jackson masterpieces since they first came out on the big screen all those years ago!)
Oh, and we managed to get our costumes pretty much all sorted out as well. Wonderland Costumes out in Strand really are amazing!
Anyway, that’s pretty much it in terms of weekend activities catch up, so now you are all up to date. As I mentioned, next weekend is Trish’s big 30th costumed birthday party (we’re having spit roast, can’t wait!) as well as, just need final confirmation, Chantelle’s first ever food market exhibition as Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes makes an appearance at the Willowbridge Slow Market. (I trust you’ll be there to support?)
Interesting times I tell you, interesting times! :)
Despite Friday being a bit of a write off thanks to a horrible stomach bug that saw me throw up at work, go home early, and then crash into bed and sleep for pretty much the whole evening, Saturday was 300 hundred times better thanks to having woken feeling 100%, having enough time to faff around the house and get Jessica ready, before Chantelle, Jess and I took a drive in traffic to the mall, to pick up a last minute addition to my brother Ryan’s birthday present as well as hand in Chantelle’s broken Samsung Windows phone for repairs.
Amazingly enough, despite having lost time thanks to us having left a little later than planned and then the increased traffic on our way to the mall, Chantelle managed to get us in her little green Getz all the way through to Kirstenbosch with two minutes to spare, just in time to meet up with Mom, Dad and Ryan, who were busy pulling their car into a new parking space, having arrived a little earlier to suss out the perfect picnic spot.
Unlike Gordon’s Bay where the wind had been pumping non-stop throughout the night and into the morning (so much so that we dissuaded Evan and Natasha from coming through to take Evalynne to the beach here in our part of the world), Kirstenbosch was absolutely, breathtakingly picture perfect – not a breath of wind, radiant sunlight, and of course that spectacular, leafy view.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve last visited Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, so I have to admit to having been quite pleased when the Facebook event notice came through inviting us out to Kirstenbosch for a family picnic in celebration of Ryan’s big 29th birthday.
Claire had been tasked with saving the earlier selected spot, the perfect shady area under a bushy thorn tree, on top of luscious green grass and next to the stunning “cheetah attacking a springbok” statue, and most important of all, close enough to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens that Mom would be able to comfortably make it with her still recovering knee.
And of course, the first thing everyone did on arrival was dump the gear and remove the shoes, with Jessica being plucked from her pram and being thrust straight in as the centre of attention (or entertainment if you must).
After a bit of lazing around and taking in the splendour around us, Ryan began to break out the food from his dazzling array of cooler boxes and shopping bags, revealing a huge spread that catered to everyone’s taste buds. At this stage Riley had also joined us after finishing up at his Kung Fu practice, and so we all dug in, filling the afternoon air with the sounds of chomping, chatter and of course loads of laughter!
We spent a good couple of hours in the Gardens before eventually packing up and hitting the road, but everyone was quick to agree that this had been a fantastic family day out and a great way to celebrate Ryan’s birthday, so much so that Chantelle is now pretty sure what we’re going to be doing in December to celebrate her 32nd! ;)
(Oh, and a reminder to myself – taking Baden Powell because it should be a nice scenic drive home and not too roundabout a route, doesn’t really work when a) the road is busy and b) the cars are driving rather slowly along it! Oh well, at least we did get home in the end!)
P.S. Check out the Kirstenbosch Picnic photos here.