The one about my husband’s birthday

Yesterday was a day of celebration. Not only was it the halfway point through the week (yay!), it was also Clifton’s birthday. And birthdays are big in our house, mainly because I make such a fuss about homemade cards, wearing a birthday hat and even celebrating half-birthdays.

And so, after a full day at work for both of us we bundled the doggies into the car and made our way to “Granny’s house”, with the doglets barking excitedly the whole way as they KNOW a visit to Granny means yummy things in their tummies.

Boy, were they right! My mom made a delicious ‘Scottage Pie’ (that’s cottage pie with a twist, eaten by folk with Scottish roots, teehee), as well as what must be the best carrot cake ever. Because while Clifton’s not a fan of sweet things in general, he doesn’t say no to carrot cake. Especially if it’s homemade. Even better? The red velvet-inspired icing on top! Mmm.

Here are some photos…

See? Everyone looks happier when they're birthday-hatted
See? Everyone looks happier when they’re birthday-hatted
Scottage pie
Scottage pie
Mum and me wearing the same colour (unplanned!)
Mum and me wearing the same colour (unplanned!)
The boys, (im)patiently waiting for me to finish taking photos of everything so we could eat
The boys, (im)patiently waiting for me to finish taking photos of everything so we could eat
We shared a sweet little bottle (literally) of sparkling wine between all four of us
We shared a sweet little bottle (literally) of sparkling wine between all four of us
A tea light candle lending an air of celebration to his slice of birthday cake, as you do when you have no birthday candles in the house
A tea light candle lending an air of celebration to his slice of birthday cake, as you do when you have no birthday candles in the house
Of course the doggies thought the cake was for them - look at the expectant little faces
Of course the doggies thought the cake was for them – look at the expectant little faces
And then we took a photo at home. Not a great photo but I insisted as I realised we didn't take any of the two of us together at my parents' house :)
And then we took a photo at home. Not a great photo but I insisted as I realised we didn’t take any of the two of us together at my parents’ house 🙂

That’s all for now, folks! But wait – speaking of ‘folks’, watch this space as Clifton’s parents will be in town from this weekend for a ‘between birthdays’ visit, so I’m sure to post related pics anon 🙂

How to have a successful end-of-year work party when the biggest local news ever breaks

It’s simple. Postpone, and have it at the start of the year 🙂

People living ‘in land’ in South Africa (ag shame) often ask what’s the best thing about living by the sea. But it’s not just the ‘Vaalies’ who dwell on the topic. I was chatting about this with a colleague just last week and we agreed that Capetonians take the gorgeous coastline for granted.

For example, this here view is five minutes from our front door:

Gorgeous shot of the mountain
Gorgeous shot of the mountain

it’s even prettier at sunset:

Sunset at Dolphin Beach
Sunset at Dolphin Beach

As if that’s not enough, my co-workers and I had our eyes re-opened to the beauty of the place we work and play in, thanks to our ‘start of year’ party.

Why a ‘start of year’ party, you ask? Well, if you work in the media industry you’ll know that Madiba’s expected but tragic passing at the end of last year led to weeks of flurried activity… it was a whirlwind of posting story after story online, and once his funeral passed and the news reverted to normal, most of us felt pretty drained – plus, of course, it was December. The month where most of the world take the annual leave they’ve saved up to savour in the sunshine.

And so, our annual outing was postponed to January – last Friday, to be exact.

What a wonderful time we had! Our office is just a hop, skip and jump (read: short drive) from the V & A Waterfront. So at lunch time we made our way across in convoy, and started off with an eco marine tour that left outside the Two Oceans Aquarium I’d last visited on my birthday last year. What a treat to relax on the catamaran, basking in the sun (as we were of course responsibly sun-lotioned and sunglassed, some were even smart enough to bring caps to protect their delicate noggins).

You’ll be pleased to know we safely left the harbour and no one fell off; crested some pretty, violent waves (meaning they were pretty and violent, not ‘pretty violent’); ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over a sweet, unplanned leaping display by dolphins endemic to the area; learned all about sunfish and why their top sides are lighter than their unders; marvelled at the beauty of Table Mountain; and learned the reason ‘Robben Island’ is named as it is; we’d all worked up quite a hunger (and thirst!)

And so, once our sea legs had reverted to land legs, we walked across to ‘Den Anker’ for a traditional Belgian lunch. Here comes a Dr Seuss moment: “Oh, the food that we ate and the drinks most of us drank!” It was all delicious and a great way to unwind.

Here are a few snaps, kindly donated by colleagues who were clever enough to document the afternoon – the pics of food are my only contribution…

Now that’s what I call a good way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Chillaxing
Chillaxing
"King of the world!". Well. Kinda
“King of the world!”. Well. Kinda
That's me in the blinding sun
That’s me in the blinding sun
Lunch is served!
Lunch is served!
Tomato mozzarella starter
Tomato mozzarella starter
Sirloin Bearnaise with chips, mayo to dip them in, and a side salad (not pictured). I ate every bite
Sirloin Bearnaise with chips, mayo to dip them in, and a side salad (not pictured). I ate every bite
Chocolate fondant - delicious but tiny
Chocolate fondant – delicious but tiny
Creme brulee - biggest I've ever seen, complete with vanilla flecks. mmm.
Creme brulee – biggest I’ve ever seen, complete with vanilla flecks. mmm.
One of the cute bottles I took home to serve as vases. Walking around the Waterfront clutching 3 empty beer bottles? Sure way to get some funny looks!
One of the cute bottles I took home to serve as vases. Walking around the Waterfront clutching 3 empty beer bottles? Sure way to get some funny looks!

2013 goes out with a bang

For the first time in the everest of ever, we went out to celebrate New Year’s Eve this time around.

As our guests were heading to the Waterfront to watch the fireworks display for free, and going by MyCiti bus to get there, we decided to go with them, after dropping off the doggies at my parents to be ‘puppy sat’ for the night.

And what a palaver our New Year’s Eve turned into! It’s partly because we had achy legs as we had just hiked up AND down Table Mountain the day before (click here for a reminder), but also because the bus was so full that we stood all the way there, crammed in like sardines… and then, to make matters worse, we decided to walk from Civic Centre to the Waterfront as there was just so much traffic in town. By the time we got there we were in agony!

The fireworks display really was lovely, but as soon as it was over we had to turn around and do the walk in reverse in order to catch the MyCiti bus back home before the last bus left at 01:30am.

Here are a few photos of our celebrations…

We got things started earlier in the day with ice cream at Melkbos before it got too windy
We got things started earlier in the day with ice cream at Melkbos before it got too windy
Four brave people testing the temperature - two of them actually got in for a quick dip
Four brave people testing the temperature – two of them actually got in for a quick dip
Waiting at the bus stop for our first night bus trip
Waiting at the bus stop for our first night bus trip
Not joking when I say the Waterfront was PACKED. Geen plek vir 'n muis!
Not joking when I say the Waterfront was PACKED. Geen plek vir ‘n muis!
One of the few visuals of the performers like Freshlyground and Prime Circle
One of the few visuals of the performers like Freshlyground and Prime Circle
Warm Coke has never tasted as good!
Warm Coke has never tasted as good!
Our view of the fireworks was limited but they sure were lovely
Our view of the fireworks was limited but they sure were lovely
Ready to crash, a few minutes after the countdown to welcome 2014
Ready to crash, a few minutes after the countdown to welcome 2014

And crash we did! We had some celebratory sparkling wine when we got home just before 2am, then slept until morning, collected the doggies from their grandparents, and spent a lazy day recovering.

Hope your 2014 is off to a good start! 🙂 Back to work for me from tomorrow, alas – this has been such a good break for me.