Tag Archives: Cape Town

Letting Cape Town’s best kept secret out the bag…

When you first mention that you live in/are moving to the Western Cape, folk-not-from-these-parts treat you with suspicion. They’ll always end a grudging comment on the sunny summers with something along the lines of “But the winters? No thanks. The wind howls and it doesn’t stop raining for months and months and months…”

Truth is, they’re wrong. I’ve only lived in Cape Town a few fingers’ and toes’ worth of months now but I know Capetonians are excellent secret-keepers. Because the ‘months and months and months’ of solid rain and howling wind those folk from ‘Up North’ speak of? It’s more like a few days here and there. Broken by days of the most wondrous blue skies, sparkling seas and light breezes of excitement and hope that blow away any grey-thought cobwebs still hanging around.

This past weekend was one such weekend. The kind you think of when you hear the lyrics to ‘June Afternoon’ by Roxette (that’s pretty old school, I know). It was the “Wah wah, here comes the sun, playing in the park, never getting dark…” kind, with the magical sunset glow adding a special filter to everything. (I wasn’t the only one to think so – click here for proof).

And of course, this winter wonderland is when all the whimsical ‘winter specials’ come into play that are long forgotten when the December hoards grace our lovely seaside towns – when it comes to Blouberg beachfront alone there’s two for 1 sushi and more on offer at Catch22half-price pizza all day on Monday at Col Cacchios in Big Bay (click here for a reminder of how much I love this special)… and the list goes on, stretching as far afield as Stellenbosch if you’re so inclined.

And so, frolic in the winter sunshine we did. You’ll see there’s a natural sunny ‘haze’ in most of these photos, that’s what I’m talking about – sometimes a picture really is better than a thousand words when describing something.

Sun-dappled head of my dear, sweet girl in the car on the way to the beach
Sun-dappled head of my dear, sweet girl in the car on the way to the beach
Doggies running up the beach path ahead of their dad
Doggies running up the beach path ahead of their dad
And run they did! If you squinch up your eyes you can JUST make out a little doggy-shaped dot on either side of hubby in this sunny shot
And run they did! If you squinch up your eyes you can JUST make out a little doggy-shaped dot on either side of hubby in this sunny shot
Bassie baby noticed I hadn't kept up the frantic jog so turned back to keep me company
Bassie baby noticed I hadn’t kept up the frantic jog so turned back to keep me company
Later that day - a beer on the sun-drenched patio of the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm, while the crowds cheered on SA vs. Wales rugby inside
Later that day – a beer on the sun-drenched patio of the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm, while the crowds cheered on SA vs. Wales rugby inside
Later still - soaking up more sunshine at the lovely outdoor eating bit of our local Food Lover's Market in Sunningdale - had a delicious nut-brittle type slice of cheese cake and pot of spicy cinnamon tea. Divine weekend treat.
Later still – soaking up more sunshine at the lovely outdoor eating bit of our local Food Lover’s Market in Sunningdale – had a delicious nut-brittle type slice of cheese cake and pot of spicy cinnamon tea. Divine weekend treat.
Even the plain white teapot was positively glowing with sunny goodness - probably because of the hot liquid sunshine it held. Silken teabags are always a win
Even the plain white teapot was positively glowing with sunny goodness – probably because of the hot liquid sunshine it held. Silken teabags are always a win
Sunday dawned even warmer than Saturday, if possible - here is the friendly local cat at McPherson's Garden Centre, where we tried out the Sunday lunch special
Sunday dawned even warmer than Saturday, if possible – here is the friendly local cat at McPherson’s Garden Centre, where we tried out the Sunday lunch special
Not sure of his real name, but I've named the cat 'Furry McPherson' because he lives at McPhersons :) He reluctantly hopped off the bench when our food arrived
Not sure of his real name, but I’ve named the cat ‘Furry McPherson’ because he lives at McPhersons 🙂 He reluctantly hopped off the bench when our food arrived
See what a wonderful view we had? Hard not to relax when there's such a picturesque sight on offer
See what a wonderful view we had? Hard not to relax when there’s such a picturesque sight on offer
And then the food came! I am always at my most excited in food pics - this plate of 3 meats, rice and veg was R59, but that's not all...
And then the food came! I am always at my most excited in food pics – this plate of 3 meats, rice and veg was R59, but that’s not all…
The price also included this tasty block of malva pudding and creamy vanilla ice-cream drenched in custard. Tabasco sauce an optional extra
The price also included this tasty block of malva pudding and creamy vanilla ice-cream drenched in custard. Tabasco sauce an optional extra
Bassie sat proudly on her Grampa's knee that afternoon as they told each other about their recent walks
Bassie sat proudly on her Grampa’s knee that afternoon as they told each other about their recent walks
And later still we collected coal from the beach. Yip, that's genuine coal washed up with all the mussel shells, perfect in the fireplace... makes the house smell like a steam-train
And later still we collected coal from the beach. Yip, that’s genuine coal washed up with all the mussel shells, perfect in the fireplace… makes the house smell like a steam-train
A very curious seagull followed me along the beach as I added more coal to our collection
A very curious seagull followed me along the beach as I added more coal to our collection

See? Winter in Cape Town’s really not about gloomy grey skies and rainy moods. Well, not all the time.

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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!

Christmas 2013 with the Joburg rellies

Ah, Christmas time. I am fully in Christmas mode once I’ve had my annual viewing of ‘Love, Actually’ for the year. And while December’s not exactly a ‘mistletoe and wine, snowy winter wonderland’ in South Africa, it’s still a favourite holiday for many.

Last year was a different one as it’s the first Christmas in almost a decade that we didn’t spend with hubby’s family (click here for a reminder).

This year was especially special for us as some of the Joburg rellies we’d not seen in months came down to spend time with us. In addition to brother-in-law Spec (click here for more of his early Cape Town adventures), we have Gords and Natalie in the house… and their visit is all the more special as they got engaged at Sunset Beach on Christmas Eve! So, lots of excitement all in all.

Added to this, it was our first ever year hosting the main Christmas meal, but with minimal stress (mainly on my part, as I’m the worrywart in this family), we produced an excellent spread! Clifton braaied the turkey based on a combination of advice from his dad and recipes he picked up online, mom made her famous potato salad with sausage and gherkin bits, there was gammon with candied clementines, and for dessert mom outdid herself with the best trifle ever (cherry jelly, custard, a base of Christmas cake, cream and fresh cherries and blackberries, mmm).

Here are some pics of the celebrations…

Christmas Eve – 24 December 2013

The pretty tree - finally put the lights up on Christmas Eve!
The pretty tree – finally put the lights up on Christmas Eve!
While Gords and Nats went to Sunset Beach on Christmas Eve, the three of us stayed home and ate pizza while waiting to hear if she'd said yes
While Gords and Nats went to Sunset Beach on Christmas Eve, the three of us stayed home and ate pizza while waiting to hear if she’d said yes
Still trying to distract ourselves from the suspense of waiting to hear if she said YES with some Dance Central! (She did) :)
Still trying to distract ourselves from the suspense of waiting to hear if she said YES with some Dance Central! (She did) 🙂
The lovely engaged couple on Sunset Beach
The lovely engaged couple on Sunset Beach

Christmas Day – 25 December 2013

Bassie getting into the Christmas spirit
Bassie getting into the Christmas spirit
Just some of the doggies' presents
Just some of the doggies’ presents
Bertie took his present outside but didn't manage the complicated opening process
Bertie took his present outside but didn’t manage the complicated opening process
"Daddy help us open it!"
“Daddy help us open it!”
Bassie REALLY enjoyed all her Christmas treats!
Bassie REALLY enjoyed all her Christmas treats!
Christmas conversation in full swing
Christmas conversation in full swing
My lovely family - hubby, dad and mom <3
My lovely family – hubby, dad and mom ❤
Waiting not-so-patiently for the turkey to finish it's cooking process - those are hungry grins!
Waiting not-so-patiently for the turkey to finish it’s cooking process – those are hungry grins!
Mmm, turkey in the Weber
Mmm, turkey in the Weber
Braaied turkey on a base of potatoes with bacon topping - success!
Braaied turkey on a base of potatoes with bacon topping – success!
Proving her status as dessert queen! Best homemade tiramisu and trifle ever
Proving her status as dessert queen! Best homemade tiramisu and trifle ever
Puppies having a nap with granny, all tuckered out after Christmas lunch
Puppies having a nap with granny, all tuckered out after Christmas lunch
Cooling off in the pool
Cooling off in the pool

Boxing Day – 26 December 2013

Boxing Day breakfast pizza and Coke at Primi - Spec had the same, I had a more sophisticated croissant and cappuccino
Boxing Day breakfast pizza and Coke at Primi – Spec had the same, I had a more sophisticated croissant and cappuccino
Above Noordhoek - the water was so beautiful today
Above Noordhoek – the water was so beautiful today
Above Muizenberg on our Boxing Day drive
Above Muizenberg on our Boxing Day drive

That’s all for now folks, keep an eye out for more pics of the Joburg visit to Cape Town – coming soon…

One year in Cape Town!

A lot can happen in a year. And a lot HAS happened this year.

Some bad but mostly good, and it feels like just an eyeblink since we were planning our big move from Joburg to Cape Town (click here and here for a reminder).

With this long weekend marking the end of the 10-day mourning period for Madiba, it feels as though we can finally breathe a bit, brush off some stress and get into holiday mode before our Joburg guests arrive… which is just what we did to mark the anniversary of our first year in Cape Town! See below 🙂

Thursday 12 December

Beautiful clouds and sunset
Beautiful clouds and sunset
Lovely clouds scudding over 'our' mountain
Lovely clouds scudding over ‘our’ mountain
Jump for joy on the beach
Jump for joy on the beach
Doodles at sunset last week - look how full it is! Just look at it!
Doodles at sunset last week – look how full it is! Just look at it!
Victorious!
Victorious!

Friday, 13 December

Pondering his "I'm on holiday" steak at the Driftwood Cafe
Pondering his “I’m on holiday” steak at the Driftwood Cafe
What big eyes I have! That's an almond-crusted camembert wheel with figs and honey-roasted nuts
What big eyes I have! That’s an almond-crusted camembert wheel with figs and honey-roasted nuts

Saturday, 14 December

Sampling the sushi buffet at Trologos
Sampling the sushi buffet at Trologos

Sunday, 15 December

Bertie sitting on the comfy cushions
Bertie sitting on the comfy cushions
I usually have a doggy 'book end' when I read in the lounge
I usually have a doggy ‘book end’ when I read in the lounge
This is how we wait for Granny and Grampa to arrive for a visit
This is how we wait for Granny and Grampa to arrive for a visit
Bassie and Granny getting some sun
Bassie and Granny getting some sun
Bertie smiling as he licks clean his paper plate of potato salad
Bertie smiling as he licks clean his paper plate of potato salad

Monday, 16 December

No better way to wash down a fruit mince pie than with coffee in a reindeer mug
No better way to wash down a fruit mince pie than with coffee in a reindeer mug
Hair blowing in the breeze as I enjoy an ice cream on the beach
Hair blowing in the breeze as I enjoy an ice cream on the beach

It’s been a wonderful first year here, but boy are we glad it’s time to unwind! 🙂

Have a great week, everyone…

Bussing around Cape Town

If you’re wondering know why we chose the Table View area when we moved to Cape Town, you don’t have to ‘wander’ too far (cheesy, I know) – the area’s name gives it away. This photo my mom took a few weeks ago, when spring was first making its presence felt, shows just how beautiful that ‘Table View’ really is…

Gorgeous view of the mountain and wild flowers
Gorgeous view of the mountain and wild flowers

Or how about this one, taken while having dins outdoors at our local St Elmo’s on the beach, which is just 5 minutes down the road…

St Elmo's on the beach
St Elmo’s on the beach

Something we didn’t factor in when we decided to live this side of the city? The traffic. It’s gridlocked in morning and evening peak hours, which means you need to leave super early or really late if you’re travelling by car to avoid it. This is a pic hubby took in the middle of winter one evening on his way home from work)…

Misty mornings and moonshine evenings in Woodbridge Island
Misty mornings and moonshine evenings in Woodbridge Island

Beautiful, but eerie, no? And even at 6am/ 6pm, there’s a fair deal of traffic on the roads.

But all is not lost, thank to the MyCiti bus. This isn’t your average bus or anything like the Gautrain in Gauteng. No Sirree. It has its own special pink bus lanes that it zooms along on, passing the bumper-to-bumper traffic. It’s affordable, sticks to its schedule, gives me the chance to not only catch up on some sleep (most people nod off during the 40-minute or so journey from Table View to Civic Centre), but also – probably more importantly – to keep up the weekend hiking high by slotting a bit of exercise into my daily routine, as walking to and from the closest station to work and home is about 2km per day in total.

But we don’t just use the bus for the ‘daily commute’ – today we took our motorbike in for a service and used the opportunity to get around town without setting foot in a car. We caught the train to Kalk Bay, walked around in the sunshine exploring the many book stores and gazing at the gorgeous baked treats on offer everywhere, got our caffeine fix through one of the best milkshake-style iced coffees I’ve ever had, imbibed a beer at the Brass Bell while watching the crashing waves, caught the train back to town, then used the MyCiti bus to get to the nearest station home 🙂 What fun we had!

BEST iced coffee at Kalk Bay Espresso, you can sit in the actual coach dining car too, which turns 100 years old next year - definitely trying the pancakes next time!
BEST iced coffee at Kalk Bay Espresso, you can sit in the actual coach dining car too, which turns 100 years old next year – definitely trying the pancakes next time!

Watching the crashing waves while waiting for our drinks to arrive at ‘Beach at the Bell’:

20131102_141858

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that we really enjoy this type of day trip, as we had a ‘public transport day’ when we first moved down to Cape Town almost a year ago (click here for a reminder of the two of us on the train to Simon’s Town).

This is me in a typical MyCiti station on the weekend – not crowded at ALL:

Empty bus stationing
Empty bus stationing

So yes. Explore your city – treat it as a tourist would. If you live in CT, you don’t even need a car to do so! 🙂

Thank you for finally visiting our lovely city again, summer – we’ll be taking many more of these trips as a result. Watch this space!