Staycation 2014 week 1: Tasha’s breakfast and Col Cacchio lunch

If you’re not even sure what a staycation is, you definitely need one. It’s a vacation where you don’t actually go anywhere. So you stay at home enjoying the simple things like getting up when your body clock tells you it’s the right time to, reading the pile of books you’ve been ignoring, singing along to songs on the radio, catching up on those TV shows you’ve been putting aside (ahem Glee season 5, I’m talking to you), and seeing people who happen to be available during the week (such as your lovely retired parents).

And so, that’s what I did during last week’s mid-week staycation – along with spending quality time napping with the doggies, I spent Tuesday to Thursday catching up on much needed admin and housework and even breaking my first ever window (accidentally, of course). Alas Husband was not on leave with me as he’d already had a staycation of his own a few weeks earlier – click here for a reminder. We’ll definitely plan our leave better next time around!

But I digress. It was rather chilly in Cape Town last week, as you can tell from these photos…

Strong contender for best hot chocolate in Cape Town - the version at Tasha's in Constantia Village comes with scoops of Nutella that you mix with the jug of frothy hot milk and marshmallows.
Strong contender for best hot chocolate in Cape Town – the version at Tasha’s in Constantia Village comes with scoops of Nutella that you mix with the jug of frothy hot milk and marshmallows.
Dad's mango frulatta looked amazing, with pieces of fresh fruit swimming along in the fruity drink
Dad’s mango frulatta looked amazing, with pieces of fresh fruit swimming along in the fruity drink
Dad and me sharing a giggle
Dad and me sharing a giggle
See how delicious our drinks were? And the food was even better!
See how delicious our drinks were? And the food was even better!
Mom enjoyed her pot of tea and the pretty decor
Mom enjoyed her pot of tea and the pretty decor
How deliciously healthy does this look? Dad had an omelette with salmon, avo and other bits
How deliciously healthy does this look? Dad had an omelette with salmon, avo and other bits
Mom's mini breakfast didn't look so 'mini' to me! Poached egg was wonderfully runny and look how nicely they cooked the tomato
Mom’s mini breakfast didn’t look so ‘mini’ to me! Poached egg was wonderfully runny and look how nicely they cooked the tomato
Of course you know I can't go for the healthy option if there are other yummy things to try - this is the French toast with marscapone, syrup and Italian cherries. Bellisima!
Of course you know I can’t go for the healthy option if there are other yummy things to try – this is the French toast with marscapone, syrup and Italian cherries. Bellisima!
Grey skies and silver seas near Camps Bay as seen in the car on the way home
Grey skies and silver seas near Camps Bay as seen in the car on the way home
Proof that Bertie is part-cat. Does YOUR dog perch on top of the couch with his paws tucked in, and fall asleep like that?
Proof that Bertie is part-cat. Does YOUR dog perch on top of the couch with his paws tucked in, and fall asleep like that?
Mom made us individual chicken, mushroom and leek pies for supper on Wednesday - so good!
Mom made us individual chicken, mushroom and leek pies for supper on Wednesday – so good!
My very berry shake was the winner of our drinks at Col Cacchio on Thursday
My very berry shake was the winner of our drinks at Col Cacchio on Thursday
My sweet smiley dad waiting for his half-price half-half topping pizza to arrive
My sweet smiley dad waiting for his half-price half-half topping pizza to arrive
Mom and me waiting for our lunch
Mom and me waiting for our lunch
Pizza happiness! I had the Norm's Pralina, which has butternut, feta, rocket and caramelised pumpkin seeds. Finished it for supper that night
Pizza happiness! I had the Norm’s Pralina, which has butternut, feta, rocket and caramelised pumpkin seeds. Finished it for supper that night

That’s all, folks. It was a much-needed mini-break but the relaxation’s not over yet as I’m in the middle of yet another mid-week staycation this week! So expect more photos soon, but first I have some of last weekend to share… Watch this space! πŸ™‚

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Why I drink hot drinks and celebrate half birthdays

Nothing warms frosty fingers more than spreading them around a hot cup. And my fingers have been more than a little frosty lately. So while it’s no secret that I love coffee, any hot drink will do at the moment. And not just for instant heat. See, even on the steamiest day you’ll find me pouring vast quantities of hot liquid down my gullet. I wouldn’t say it’sΒ a caffeine addiction, as I can get by just fine on decaf… as long as my first liquid intake of the day is coffee. UltimatelyΒ it boils down to the fact that the day hasn’t really started until I’ve had at least one cuppa. Wise folk always comment that you’ll never be truly happy until you learn to appreciate the small things in life, and while they’re usually referring to things that are free, there’s no denying the satisfaction of breathing deeply fromΒ a freshly brewed, prettily cupped cuppa joe.Β That’s why I had cup after cup last weekend and they sure did make me happy, as you’ll see below.

But don’t fool yourself into thinking the fun stopped there, as Sunday was also Husband’s half birthday! Here’s a reminder of why we celebrate half birthdays in our household, and some snaps of the day…

Saturday, 19 July: Breakfast at Hillcrest Estate, drinks at Brazenhead in Big Bay,Β coal collecting in Blouberg, scones at the nursery

Lush green setting at Hillcrest Estate in Durbanville. Bright white sky was blinding and sunnies were atop my head instead of protecting sensitive eyes, hence funny expression on face
Lush green setting at Hillcrest Estate in Durbanville. Bright white sky was blinding and sunnies were atop my head instead of protecting sensitive eyes, hence funny expression on face
Hot drink! Delicious cappuccino with complimentary cookie to start the weekend on the right note
Hot drink! Delicious cappuccino with complimentary cookie to start the weekend on the right note
Excited for flapjack stack with bacon, banana, grated cheese and berries. The cappuccino was not yet sipped, hence me still looking very tired
Excited for flapjack stack with bacon, banana, grated cheese and berries. The cappuccino was not yet sipped, hence me still looking very tired
Saucing up his breakfast pita
Saucing up his breakfast pita
Diane and Chris marvelling at the pics of the ghostie we captured on camera a few weeks ago. Not pictured? Hot drink! (Hot chocolate) at the Brazenhead
Diane and Chris marvelling at the pics of the ghostie we captured on camera a few weeks ago. Not pictured? Hot drink! (Hot chocolate) at the Brazenhead
Grey mountain at high tide
Grey mountain at high tide
Solitary seagull walking along the water's edge
Solitary seagull walking along the water’s edge
Hot drink! We popped in at Stark Ayres nursery for the 'scones and hot chocolate' special - all this for R30. Lovely flecks of vanilla in the tub of cream meant for scone-smearing
Hot drink! We popped in at Stark Ayres nursery for the ‘scones and hot chocolate’ special – all this for R30. Lovely flecks of vanilla in the tub of cream meant for scone-smearing
Bassie and mommy sitting by the fire
Bassie and mommy sitting by the fire

Sunday, 20 July: Breakfast at Inside, Eden on the Bay, dog walks on the beach and half-birthday celebrations

Hot drink! Pot of tea with my breakfast at Inside
Hot drink! Pot of tea with my breakfast at Inside
Sipping on his half birthday breakfast Coke, as you do
Sipping on his half birthday breakfast Coke, as you do
Hot drink! This time a vanilla cappuccino from the Nescafe machine in the Pick n Pay at Eden on the Bay.
Hot drink! This time a vanilla cappuccino from the Nescafe machine in the Pick n Pay at Eden on the Bay.
Bertie gave mommy a big lick while Bassie waited for her turn
Bertie gave mommy a big lick while Bassie waited for her turn
The look I was given before my lap was jumped on
The look I was given before my lap was jumped on
Then Bassie gave mommy big licks too
Then Bassie gave mommy big licks too
Bassie trotting ahead of me on the beach
Bassie trotting ahead of me on the beach
Bertie pulling his dad along the mussel-strewn sand to bark at assorted sea birds
Bertie pulling his dad along the mussel-strewn sand to bark at assorted sea birds
THAT's the sand-speckled face of a very happy little dog who has just had a long walk on the beach. Note her brother behind her with his head out the window, barking at all and sundry
THAT’s the sand-speckled face of a very happy little dog who has just had a long walk on the beach. Note her brother behind her with his head out the window, barking at all and sundry
Miss Bassie wrapped in a towel - still grinning as wide as she can
Miss Bassie wrapped in a towel – still grinning as wide as she can
Half birthday cake! A full carrot ring and some mini carrot cakes all made by mum, so you know they were delicious. Not pictured? HOT DRINKS!
Half birthday cake! A full carrot ring and some mini carrot cakes all made by mum, so you know they were delicious. Not pictured? HOT DRINKS!
The half-birthday boy - note the birthday hat at his place at the table and Kinder Surprise egg in hand - his first ever
The half-birthday boy – note the birthday hat at his place at the table and Kinder Surprise egg in hand – his first ever
Kisses for the (half) birthday boy
Kisses for the (half) birthday boy
Tolerating more half birthday kisses
Tolerating more half birthday kisses
Pretty pink clouds behind a palm tree
Pretty pink clouds behind a palm tree

That’s all for now, folks. I’m currently enjoying a mid-week ‘staycation’, so stay posted as I’m sure to put up some pics of my favourite moments from this week soon…

Sweet treats and sad crabs

Wow, you guys. The pressure! Last week’s blog post on the ghostie/gremlin/smudge caught on camera was my most viewed yet in almost 3 years of posting about our “weekend, holiday and special event” goings-on. Mainly because all my colleagues got involved in trying to solve the mystery. T’was riveting.

But alas, last weekend I didn’t get to hone my Nancy Drew, Mythbuster or Supernatural skills, so today I’m just going to show you some photos of the lovely (ahem, SWEET) food we ate, along with a few other heart-warming snaps.

But that doesn’t mean this post is boring – not by a long shot! For example, when last did you have a mainly chocolate breakfast?! See a little further below…

It actually all started on Friday, when my mom and dad popped in with this variety of cream puffs we call 'birdie cakes' as they're just like a certain delectable swan-shaped choux pastry confection that I used to love as a little girl
It actually all started on Friday, when my mom and dad popped in with this variety of cream puffs we call ‘birdie cakes’ as they’re just like a certain delectable swan-shaped choux pastry confection shaped like a swan that I used to love as a little girl

Saturday, 12 July 2014: Chocolate overload at Rococoa and meet the saddest crab shell you’ll ever see

You guys. If you love chocolate and you’re in the Western Cape, get yourself down to Rococoa in Woodstock’s Palms Centre. Stat! It’s a warm wonderland where you can marvel at all sorts of goodies being made right before your eyes, walk through the history of all manner of cocoa-ey things, have a beer-and-chocolate pairing… the list goes on! Click on the link above to find out more. And as you’ll see below, the French toast is a new contender in my ‘best French toast’ findings and as for the hot chocolate, DING DING give them a prize, they win! πŸ™‚

Now THAT is a hot chocolate! Frothed hot milk in a glass that's had melted chocolate dribbled down the sides - your choice of milk or dark - just perfect once you've swished it all together with your spoon
Now THAT is a hot chocolate! Frothed hot milk in a glass that’s had melted chocolate dribbled down the sides – your choice of milk or dark – just perfect once you’ve swished it all together with your spoon
Not as much of a chocolate fan, Husband was happy with his 'Two-two' special - 2 eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 slices of toast, R22
Not as much of a chocolate fan, Husband was happy with his ‘Two-two’ special – 2 eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 slices of toast, R22
But that's not the only way to eat bacon. Look at THIS French toast! Just look at it! Grilled banana, bits of bacon and more melted chocolate on top.
But that’s not the only way to eat bacon. Look at THIS French toast! Just look at it! Grilled banana, bits of bacon and more melted chocolate on top.
Yes, I did eat every bacony-chocolatey mouthful
Yes, I did eat every bacony-chocolatey mouthful
As Husband's breakfast wasn't as filling as mine, he had a plate from the Harvest Table at La Cuccina in Hout Bay a few hours later. I did not.
As Husband’s breakfast wasn’t as filling as mine, he had a plate from the Harvest Table at La Cuccina in Hout Bay a few hours later. I did not.
Husband found a sad crab shell on the beach at Hout Bay when we tried to walk off our bulging bellies. All we had at the end of it was frozen toes - bellies still bulged, alas
Husband found a sad crab shell on the beach at Hout Bay when we tried to walk off our bulging bellies. All we had at the end of it was frozen toes – bellies still bulged, alas
Bertie looks very pleased with himself in this one, when we had a nap later that afternoon. He'd just licked Bassie's ear, which she hates him doing
Bertie looks very pleased with himself in this one, when we had a nap later that afternoon. He’d just licked Bassie’s ear, which she hates him doing
Ahem. So full was I still from my chocolatey breakfast that this is what I had for supper - an Oreo McFlurry and 3/4 of Husband's caramel one
Ahem. So full was I still from my chocolatey breakfast that this is what I had for supper – an Oreo McFlurry and 3/4 of Husband’s caramel one

Sunday, 13 July 2014 – Husband shows you how to eat a Mochachos burger

On Sunday, Husband decided to show us how to eat a Mochachos Extra Hot burger (Dynamite strength is only for visiting a new branch for the first time, he explains - rather take it easy with the softer-on-the-palate Extra Hot option)
On Sunday, Husband decided to show us how to eat a Mochachos Extra Hot burger (Dynamite strength is only for visiting a new branch for the first time, he explains – rather take it easy with the softer-on-the-palate Extra Hot option)
First you psych yourself up...
First you psych yourself up…
Then you dive right in!
Then you dive right in!
As the chicken burger reset our almost-at-the-limit sweet-teeth, we had homemade waffles with banana and syrup and coffee that afternoon at Mum's
As the chicken burger reset our almost-at-the-limit sweet-teeth, we had homemade waffles with banana and syrup and coffee that afternoon at Mum’s
Bertie watched a show about dogs while covered in a blanket at Granny's house
Bertie watched a show about dogs while covered in a blanket at Granny’s house
Bassie preferred to wrap herself in another blanket while lying on another blanket for a nap. She did close her eyes to nap. Promise
Bassie preferred to wrap herself in another blanket while lying on another blanket for a nap. She did close her eyes to nap. Promise

Monday, 14 July 2014: Sunset gazing during my evening commute

Y’all know I rely on the MyCiti bus service to get to and from home (and to explore other undiscovered areas with Husband). Here’s some of the eye-pleasing scenery… (yes I took these photos through a bus window on my non-S4 Samsung phone so am pretty chuffed with the results, even if you don’t see the lilac and pink sky streaks that I did)…

Got to watch this glorious sunset while passing Woodbridge Island on the bus home on Monday
Got to watch this glorious sunset while passing Woodbridge Island on the bus home on Monday
Beautiful!
Beautiful!

This week’s been difficult to say the least, so I am looking very forward to next weekend – will be sure to keep you updated! πŸ™‚

Introducing the ghost of Blouberg beachfront

Everybody loves a good ghost story, especially if you’re huddled around a roaring campfire. Not near a set of twigs and flint? Oh well, the light from your laptop screen will have to do. Here goes…

None of the research I’ve conducted into ‘Cape Town ghosts’ shows that there’s been a sighting in the Table View/Blouberg area yet, though there was a ghost ship spotted close by in Milnerton (click here to find out more) – so I conclude that the lack of evidence must just mean I have super strong ghost sensing skills.

See, last Saturday Husband woke with a rumbling tum, of the ‘must have a buffet breakfast’ variety. Luckily we have one such option just a few minutes from home, at Doodles on Blouberg Beach. So we set off to Doodles, filled out plates, took a few foodie shots as per usual, and left.

It was only on scrolling through the photos we’d taken much later in the afternoon that I noted the ‘ghost’ – Husband thinks it’s a trick of the eye or camera, I’m not so sure.

Here’s the view from Doodles – see pretty rainbow?

Gloomy sky when we sat at Doodles
Gloomy sky when we sat at Doodles

Then here we see the ghostie. He/she’s actually in the first photo too, look again…

Aah, lovely rainbow... then your eyes are drawn to the funny ghostie figure. What IS that? Husband's convinced it's the reflection of something behind us but the section of Doodles we sat in was empty apart from us...
Aah, lovely rainbow… then your eyes are drawn to the funny ghostie figure. What IS that? Husband’s convinced it’s the reflection of something behind us but the section of Doodles we sat in was empty apart from us…

Enlarged for your horror…

See? It's like a gremlin/ghoul thing with its arms raised above its head
See? It’s like a gremlin/ghoul thing with its arms raised above its head

If you do have another explanation, please share in the comments section below! This is what the rest of breakfast looked like:

First course - cappuccino and crunchy muesli cereal things with yoghurt
First course – cappuccino and crunchy muesli cereal things with yoghurt
Second course - toast with scrammlies, bacon and warmed crumpets. The wetness on plate is neither steam nor tears of happiness but instead rain as our enclosed eating section was nowhere near the buffet plating section.
Second course – toast with scrammlies, bacon and warmed crumpets. The wetness on plate is neither steam nor tears of happiness but instead rain as our enclosed eating section was nowhere near the buffet plating section.

Tummy full, my ghost-sensing brain wasn’t satisfied so later that afternoon we drove slowly past the ‘no entry’ sign where we’d first seen the ghostie but it was nowhere to be seen. And seeing as we were in the area, we had a mini-adventure in Big Bay, with drinks at Saints Burgers in Eden on the Bay (the burgers do look delectable – click here for the menu – so I’m sure we’ll be back to try them when we’re feeling more flush with cash!), followed by experimenting with the big yellow ‘National Geographic’ photo frame just in front of it.

Trying a chocolate cookie shake at Saints, Eden on the Bay. So delicious, like an Oreo McFlurry mixed with chocolate ice cream. Plus they gave me a tartan blanket (which you can just see - the white and grey one clashing fashionably with my purple tartan scarf) to keep toasty
Trying a chocolate cookie shake at Saints, Eden on the Bay. So delicious, like an Oreo McFlurry mixed with chocolate ice cream. Plus they gave me a tartan blanket (which you can just see – the white and grey one clashing fashionably with my purple tartan scarf) to keep toasty
Of course Husband tried a beer instead. He enjoyed his Jack Black
Of course Husband tried a beer instead. He enjoyed his Jack Black
Tada! Result of the Nat Geo photo frame: Winter-me in front of the mountain (Winter me is quite different to Summer me)
Tada! Result of the Nat Geo photo frame: Winter-me in front of the mountain (Winter me is quite different to Summer me)
This is how it was taken
This is how it was taken

And of course we ate even more the next day, especially as it was time for the monthly lunch buffet at the Italian Cub in Milnerton. You’re just not Italian if lunch isn’t a three-hour long affair (I am a quarter Italian so this was my ideal lunch)…

Coffee shake at the Italian Club
Coffee shake at the Italian Club
Mum, dad and me waiting for the starters to be declared ready for consumption at the Italian Club
Mum, dad and me waiting for the starters to be declared ready for consumption at the Italian Club
We took many versions of this selfie, but this is my favourite - yes, while waiting for the go ahead to queue for yummy Italian food
We took many versions of this selfie, but this is my favourite – yes, while waiting for the go ahead to queue for yummy Italian food
Mmmm delicious pasta. This was between the cheesy starters and meaty main course.
Mmmm delicious pasta. This was between the cheesy starters and meaty main course.
Dessert! If you know me, you know I love dessert. This was my first bowlfull
Dessert! If you know me, you know I love dessert. This was my first bowlfull
Even more sweet treats going down the gullet
Even more sweet treats going down the gullet
Nom nom nom!
Nom nom nom!

That’s all for now, folks – let me know your thoughts on the ghostly snap, and click here to read the ‘ghostly’ short story I wrote many moons ago – it’s not scary at all, I promise :).

Landlubbers celebrating the great Cape outdoors by boat, foot and bus

Ahoy, me mateys! πŸ™‚ Yes, I’ve turned to Pirate Speak. Argh. Shiver me timbers (Alas, that’s all the Pirate Speak I know. If you have a few more catch phrases up your sleeve, please share with me so I can impress others when next I have a parrot on my shoulder.)

The reason for my twist to all things sea-wordy is because we were sea-worthy this past weekend. See, Husband has decided he is a budding fisherman. As such, we renewed his fishing licence (you can do so at your local Post Office), stocked up the inflatable boat with all sorts of fishing apparel (poles, boxes, hats, hooks, soggy bread and the like) and headed out to the open waters just in front of the Blue Peter in Big Bay. Because we do love to be beside the seaside. See below.

Rowing us out into the deep blue (grey) sea! Note how wet his shirt is, and also dimple that only shows when Very Happy
Rowing us out into the deep blue (grey) sea! Note how wet his shirt is, and also dimple that only shows when Very Happy
I was there too - smiling, but cold and wet. Note wooly hat and shiny arm - that's because I was completely drenched
I was there too – smiling, but cold and wet. Note wooly hat and shiny arm – that’s because I was completely drenched
This is the life: Fishing! On the sea! We only caught more sea this time, alas
This is the life: Fishing! On the sea! We only caught more sea this time, alas

But the fun didn’t end there, oh no. We also took the doggies for a lovely long walk (bark in the park) in the marshy wonderland they’d not yet explored near McPhersons of the ‘Sunday lunch special’ I recently wrote about:

Very Excited doggies exploring at McPherson's. Note how each is wanting to go in a different direction.
Very Excited doggies exploring at McPherson’s. Note how each is wanting to go in a different direction.
Wild lilies grow along the edges
Wild lilies grow along the edges
Sweet little dog and I happy to be out and about. Am wearing wellies to keep feet dry.She's happy hers are very muddy
Sweet little dog and I happy to be out and about. Am wearing wellies to keep feet dry. She’s happy hers are very muddy

Then, just so I don’t disappoint all the foodie fanatics asking “Where are my weekly food pics?”, here you go: we bussed into town on Sunday morning and had a fancy brunch at Kloof Street House on Sunday. Not cheap by a long shot but worth most of the pennies as it’s a rather unusual venue with lots of nooks and crannies to explore while you wait for your gastronomic extravaganza to appear…

Such pretty, quirky outdoor furniture at Kloof Street House
Such pretty, quirky outdoor furniture at Kloof Street House
Charming entrance to Kloof Street House
Charming entrance to Kloof Street House
Excuse the frizzy hair, focus on the gorgeous Eggs Benedict with parma ham on a Hollandaise-sauce coloured plate. Mmm!
Excuse the frizzy hair, focus on the gorgeous Eggs Benedict with parma ham on a Hollandaise-sauce coloured plate. Mmm!
Yay brunch! Hidden under the mound of rocket was a delicious prawn, chilli and avo omelette
Yay brunch! Hidden under the mound of rocket was a delicious prawn, chilli and avo omelette

And of course that’s not even half of how we spent the weekend. We also napped with the doggies, watched some big bikes going around the track at Killarney Race track and snacked on imported goods from the UK Emporium. Amongst other things…

Bertie napping with his dad
Bertie napping with his dad
Watching the bikes zoom around the track at Killarney - this greenie was the winner of the race we watched
Watching the bikes zoom around the track at Killarney – this greenie was the winner of the race we watched
My favourite weekend treat - Vanilla Coke and Millionaire's Shortbread Wonka Bar
My favourite weekend treat – Vanilla Coke and Millionaire’s Shortbread Wonka Bar

Looks like this weekend’s set to be another cold one so keep warm, kids!