Despite the cold and overcast conditions, the girls and I decided that we needed to stretch our legs a bit to close off the day, and so we headed down the road to a nearby park, a couple of streets away from our place here at Country Mews in Gordon’s Bay.
Youth Crescent Play Park is the field’s official municipal title, and yes, it is situated in Youth Crescent, hence the name. It consists of a large green field, with a couple of old kid-friendly play park equipment pieces scattered around, and for some or other reason, a section of concrete pipe just laying there.
Although large sections of the park was rather wet and muddy, this did not deter the girls one bit, happy to finally be out of the house and able to run about!
Naturally, we had to try out each and every piece of park equipment, and all in all it was a pretty fun afternoon out. Jessica got to practice taking photos (with me nervously watching to make sure she didn’t drop my phone!), snapping this pretty nice picture of Emily and I:
And yes, the concrete pipe turned out to be an attraction for the girls!
Finally the cold and unpleasantness of the weather caught up with us, and in order to avoid the rain but let the girls burn off all their remaining energy, I made a snap decision to head down to Sunset Bay Spur, where I could indulge in beer while the girls could get lost in Spur’s play area.
Win-win situation for us all! :)
Photos of the park (just in case you didn’t know of its existence before):
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I turned 36 on Wednesday, and spent the first half of the day with Chantelle up on Table Mountain, taking advantage of the cableway’s free birthday ride offer. The latter part of the day I spent with my two girls, heading out to Sunset Bay Spur, because well, kids love Spur’s play areas.
Sunset Bay Spur does of course have that fabulous beach view, so I didn’t mind too much being left alone with Teddy and my Savanna Dry for the odd now and then, but for the most part the girls chose to hang out with me – with plenty of colouring in and milkshake swigging taking place.
Spur food is Spur food (in other words, I’m not really a fan), but the girls had a ball playing and occasionally eating, meaning that the trip was totally worth it – even if Jess forgot her part and totall didn’t tell the waiters that it was my birthday.
Sigh, I was looking forward to that sparkler.
Oh, and of course, one milkshake was dropped, and two bouts of tears had to be dealt with – Emily over her milkshake, and Jessica who walked into the slide forehead first!
Perhaps next time I should invite an adult along…
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Related Link: Sunset Bay Spur
It has been a good couple of years now since Terrance left our sunny shores for a life of teaching English in Japan, and while I have been over there once so far for his wedding, I pretty much rely on his annual(ish) visit to South Africa to catch up and learn all about his interesting life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
So as you might imagine, I was quite pleased to discover that he dropped into the country for a couple of days in February, so much so that I immediately suggested getting together for a nice breakfast at Vergelegen Wine Estate – an experience that he was instantly onboard for!
Established in 1700, the historic and beautiful Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West is a must visit if you’ve never been there before, and it was a great treat for both Ryan and Terrance, neither of whom had been there before. We enjoyed a leisurely and delicious breakfast (complemented with extremely expensive water I might add), before shuffling along and taking in the sights of the estate.
(I did my best to keep up on my crutches, but eventually I set the two free to go and explore while I worked my way slowly back to the car park!)
Following that, the three of us next headed over to Somerset Mall, where we caught an afternoon screening of Deadpool – which was surprisingly good. They really, really captured the essence of the character for the movie, with Ryan Reynolds proving to be the perfect actor for the role. (That sequence of him punching Colossus literally had me wiping away the tears of laughter!)
The movie done, I next convinced them that going for an ice cream with Chantelle would be a great idea, so after a bit of a wait at home for her to finish up with work, the three of us left and headed out to Gordon’s Bay beach.
Only… the wind had picked up a bit in the meantime, meaning that in the end we swapped out soft serve on the beach for ice cream in the safety of the Spur – which turned out perfectly fine as well!
And yes, once again I took many, many pictures at the beautiful Vergelegen Estate:
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Related Link: Vergelegen Wine Estate
Apart from our play time at Helderberg Farm this past Heritage Day public holiday, I also treated my two girls to what could possibly be their first ever Chico the Clown experience at the Tallahassee Spur (currently being renovated) in the Somerset Mall.
Of course, nostalgia is never quite that great, so Chico in my mind didn’t quite look like Chico on the table – nevertheless, Emily totally loved hers.
Jessica on the other hand was distraught by the fact that the cone was upside down, meaning that she first needed to clean it off, and then put all the ice cream inside it – sans sweets and marshmallows, because she didn’t like them.
At least she thoroughly enjoyed the play area though.
The play area didn’t on the other hand agree with Emily very much. Far too busy and noisy for her liking, meaning that the two of us cuddled closely on the bench, colouring in for all our worth whilst waiting for the food to arrive.
Truthfully, it wasn’t the best of outings, reminding me exactly why it is again that I don’t ever like taking my girls to indoor only restaurants!
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Related Link: Tallahassee Spur
The Oppiwa Festival held annually in Jacobsbaai is a brilliant little Afrikaans music festival with an interesting twist. Each musician get assigned a tractor-pulled wagon for which you then buy a ticket for, the end result being a two hour excursion that includes a ride around the dusty town with the artist, getting up nice and close and personal, with the whole thing then culminating with a stop at a random guest house for a spread of delicious eats and of course an impromptu private session with the musician.
Oh, and at the start of it all you get given a tin mug which is kept filled with wine from start to finish. In other words, a recipe for a guaranteed fun afternoon out!
Monty and Cheryl had invited Chantelle and myself to join them for the festival this year, and after an eventful journey from Gordon’s Bay to Jacobsbaai, we found ourselves in the calming and tranquil little West Coast village of Jacobsbaai late Friday afternoon, meeting up with everyone at Priscilla’s The Artists’ Retreat Guest House – our usual go to destination for whenever we’re on that side of the world! :)
Joining us for the weekend was Robert and his new girlfriend Tarryn Botha, and with all the sleeping arrangements organised and bags unpacked, it was decided to keep out of Priscilla’s hair (who was scrambling about, trying to get all the food preparations done for her hosting of a wagon on Saturday) by going out for supper to the Weskus Mall (in Vredenburg).
We knew that Panarottis in the mall has a play area, but our plans were scuppered when on entering the mall, Jessica spotted Yukon Spur’s huge outdoor play area – which of course meant Spur it was! With Jess immediately off to play, the rest of us settled down to enjoy some family food (I can never really bring myself to call Spur’s food good) and plenty of excited chatter.
Happily, despite all the tummy bugs that seemed to be in the air (Emily, Chantelle and I were struggling a little), and despite Emily’s horrendous head butt of the wall a little earlier when we were first setting up the room (the bump on her forehead pretty much remained there for the rest of the weekend!), the kids and Chantelle and myself enjoyed a good night’s sleep, only waking up on Saturday at a much later time than normal! (Sleep, beautiful sleep!)
The morning was spent walking, eating a delicious guest house breakfast, playing pool, and of course a trip through to Paternoster for a beer (with the lovebirds) at the Paternoster Hotel.
Back in Jacobsbaai, everyone got ready for their Oppiwa experience – well everyone but me.
As things turned out, when we’d originally bought tickets for the sold out festival, we managed to get just enough for the five of us (Anna Davel, formerly of Cut Glass, being the only wagon we could still book). However, with Robert now bagging a girlfriend at the last minute (and the first one in a very, VERY long time), I refused to stand in the way of young love and gave my ticket up to Tarryn, meaning that for the afternoon whilst everyone was drinking wine and making merry, I would be spending some time with Emily and Jessica, treating them to clothes and ice cream at the mall. (Which I always enjoy doing anyway!)
From all reports the Oppiwa experience was loads of fun, Anna Davel was mesmerizing, and we’ve pretty much already decided that we’ll just have to be back next year again! The evening was then spent around a blazing fire on the roof deck, dancing to some Afrikaanse treffers and chowing on all the Oppiwa stopover leftovers – the perfect way to round off what had been an excellent day.
As for Sunday, well that was spent mostly around the pool table and big, big braai on the deck – yet again the perfect was to spend a Sunday at the close of a good weekend away. Oh, and of course, I managed to grab some photos on my phone whilst we were there:
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(Oh, and unlike our trip there, we didn’t get lost on the way back).
Related Link: http://www.oppiwa.co.za/
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.
What a pleasant weekend this past weekend was, what with it being our first “normal” weekend in literally months! Our new schedule of doing three markets in a month, two of those being handled by Cheryl and myself on Chantelle’s work weekends, meant that this weekend was a proper weekend off for the Gordon’s Bay Lotter clan, and so we tried to make the most of it by spending time together as a family.
Friday evening kicked off with Chantelle’s folks making the trip through to our house in order to spend some quality time with Jessica, followed by a delectable pork chop meal that Chantelle whipped up using her shiny new Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals recipe book! It was a laid back, enjoyable visit, Jessica was as cute as a button, and at the end of it all (i.e. after Monty and Cheryl’s departure), Chantelle and I rewarded ourselves with a good night’s sleep! :)
Saturday morning I darted out to get the preliminary tools needed in order to break out and replace the expired lock mechanism on our front door security gate, though I opted to hold back on buying an actual replacement lock on this initial trip, just so that I could make sure of the exact dimensions of the old lock after successfully removing it first.
After a lengthy (but successful – yay, for birthday money, so many shiny new things for my toolbox!) trip to Builders’ Warehouse, I arrived back home to tag with Chantelle as she hit Pick ‘n Pay and Spar in order to secure the ingredients necessary for making our afternoon bring and braai with the friends a success, while I stayed at home to look after Jessie (who decided that this was the perfect time for a nap anyway).
Of course, when I say friends, I mean only Trish and Karl, as it turned out that this was a particularly bad weekend to invite the buddies over – Damen, Michelle and Logan were sick and in hospital, Evan, Natasha and Evalynne were sick (plus one trip to the hospital), Ryan was away in Mossel Bay on a golf tour with Dad, and Dean was at work, while Zania was back home with a sick Zandea! (And of course, Terrance remains firmly planted in Japan).
Regardless of this though, we went ahead with the braai, which turned out to be a really enjoyable afternoon visit, with Jessica being on her cutest behaviour, Karl and Trish happily entertaining her while the indoor braai kept everything nice and toasty, and for a change, all of the food turning out pretty damn delicious – i.e. Karl took over the braai from me!
We finished up the visit with some heated four-man Blur racing battles (thanks for the loan of the extra controllers Ryan), the result of which was Trish wanting to murder me more than once, Jessica doing her best to distract Karl at every twist and turn, and Chantelle biting back her lip in order to keep her ultra competitive nature in check! :)
(And yes, I made sure that I stayed up the whole night to watch the Champions League finally run its course, thought truthfully I was a bit disappointed at Chelsea stealing the title on the night).
Sunday was just the three of us, and with the weather being as gloomy as it was, we headed out to Builders’ Warehouse to get the replacement lock (drilled out the broken one just fine, but damn it, now I need to lay my hands on a metal file in order to widen the slot by a millimetre or so for the new one!), followed by some winter clothes shopping at the Mall for young Jessica. We looked around for a new DVD rack (our old one is filled to the brim), and eventually decided to pop in for an early lunch at the always kid-friendly Spur – though I don’t think Jessie could quite make out what to do with the big bunch of crayons our waitress handed over to her!
Afternoon was filled with chores and a well-timed nap for the three of us, before we made another mini-excursion out to Strand, to point and babble at each passing seagull unlucky enough to find itself in Jessica’s visual range, and also to partake in the Belgium Waffle House’s menu that Chantelle had been so keen to give a spin.
The evening was finally capped off with Jessica and I watching the Madagascar DVD that I had just received from Claire and Ryan (one of the six DVDs in my birthday pack from the two of them!), while Chantelle slaved away in the kitchen, cleaning up and baking shortbread and Turkish Delight for the orders going out this week.
Soup for supper, more baking while watching first Idols and then X-Factor for Chantelle, while I set about tidying up after the weekend, and knocking a couple of blog posts out before the sultry, seductive song of Club Pillow struck again…
Yay, finally Jessica is back with us, and everything is back to normal, routine and all! :)
With creché opening on Monday, this was the last week of Jessica staying with Oupa and Ouma, and to be honest, it was becoming quite tough without my little one back home with me, so by the end of the week I was seriously looking forward to finally reclaiming my daughter. However, before that, Chantelle wanted us to enjoy one last date night before the routine was back in full swing, meaning that Friday evening was spent at Somerset Mall, where we enjoyed a quiet dinner in one another’s company at the Spur, before moving on to watch the thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows.
Seeing as I am currently dragging Chantelle off on hour long walks as of late, Saturday morning unsurprisingly kicked off with yet another of our treks to the beach and back, though this one had a slight interruption as we came across a beach blockaded with bicycles and people in wetsuits – this year’s big Totalsports Terra Firma multi-discipline event thingie was in full swing in Gordon’s Bay of all places!
As a further surprise, we bumped into both my now ex-colleague David Fox (who was partaking in the event) and my ex-karate training partner James Wayne (who wasn’t partaking, but was there for the photo opportunities). After losing a bit of time in catching up with everyone, Chantelle and I then had to dash back to the house, where we had just enough time for a quick shower and change of clothes before leaping into our cars and racing off to Joostenbergvlaktes along the N1, to meet up with both sets of grandparents, plus one Jessie, for breakfast at the always pleasant Bamboo Gardens restaurant, situated in the heart of the awesome Cape Garden Centre.
Breakfast was a leisurely but delicious affair, and Jessie enjoyed the after entertainment, as we let her touch a bunny rabbit, play with a Jack Russell puppy, and stare at a mean tempered Shetland pony on our way out.
From there it was a return down the N1 to the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, where we set about getting the debriefing from Ouma and Oupa, and launching into the arduous task of packing all of Jessie’s belongings and accessories back into the two cars, before heading off to the next stop for the day, that being my folk’s pad, where we enjoyed a lovely outdoor lunch and an even lovelier time in the pool, with pretty much the whole family (including Chantelle), getting in on the wet action!
Sunday was a completely different story though, with Chantelle and I opting to spend the day as hermits, enjoying some much needed alone time with just the three of us at home. We did venture out for lunch at Hagglunds, but this was kept pretty short thanks to a combination of sweltering heat and a niggly Jessica. Other than that, it was pretty much a case of unpacking, settling in, and getting everything ready for the about to commence routine.
So yeah, a mixed weekend of entertainment, family and food, but certainly an enjoyable way to properly cap off the holiday season and now fully rejoin the daily grind, routine and all!
Note: Once again, life gets ahead of blogging, and this post which was meant to appear on Tuesday, only appears now. Oh well, what can you do? :P
And I’m back. Thanks to all of the public holidays plus three days’ leave, I have technically been away from work for 11 days now, having last been there back on the 22 April! Having not taken a holiday break last December, I was pretty much desperately in need of this little downtime, but unfortunately as any single parent with a baby will tell you, there really is no such thing as proper rest and relaxation if you have one of those little critters in your care! :)
Lack of funds and of course the fact that Chantelle was working meant that I didn’t go away for my leave period, and instead found myself home-based for the entire holiday, which isn’t all that bad I guess – if you don’t mind a little hard work. Yup, once again those sleeves got rolled up and I found myself toiling away for a considerable number of hours around the yard, sawing down poles, pulling up brick borders, laying down cement slabs, doing gardening, cleaning up the yard and yes, even doing a little bricklaying as well.
But it wasn’t all hard work, all the time mind you.
On the Saturday of the Easter weekend Chantelle, Jessica and I went out for our first real outing together, taking the car for a spin along the always scenic coastal road towards Betty’s Bay, on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. We trundled about Pringle Bay, enjoyed lunch, changed nappies, drove through Betty’s Bay and in general just enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together. The evening brought with it another first, with us taking Jessica along with us to a restaurant for the first time, the family friendly Gordon’s Bay Sunset Spur. Armed with a milk bottle (always at the ready), the evening went quite well actually, though we didn’t break any records for length of stay come to think of it! :)
The Monday following the gluttonous, copious Easter egg devouring of the Sunday was kicked off with an enjoyable visit from Zania and Dean with Jessica and myself, before Chantelle arrived back from work and the Montgomery clan rolled in to join us for a late afternoon braai. As it turned out, my folks popped in for a visit on their way back from their little weekend away, and ended up staying for the delicious meat-fest as well!