Toffee hot chocolates and late-night weekend beach walks

Yay! If you’re reading this, it means we have survived most of Cannes Lions 2016! There are still a few award ceremonies to go, with lots of post-Festival of Creativity coverage to come but the bulk of the admin-intensive work is done and dusted, thanks to my most wonderful team at work. And now it’s time to relax a bit, but first, highlights of the past week…

Friday, 17 June 2016: Consumer Goods Forum at the CTICC

Leibniz biscuits
I spent a full-day at the Consumer Goods Forum, and wish I’d gone through for all three. T’was a wonderful event at my favourite CT conference venue, the CTICC. Morning tea break was time for networking, quick interviews and sampling some of the biscuits that were simply everywhere. Verdict? Amazing. If you see these various Leibniz biccies in store, buy them!
Coffee in Cape Town
Concentration flagging during the afternoon tea break, a quick stroll around the expo set-up revealed a stand serving the most amazing coffee in glass cups. It perked me right back up for the final session of the day. Note the complete lack of traffic in the CBD below as many many clever people took the day off work as Thursday was a public holiday. I wrote this and this and this and this and this about the Forum, if you’re interested.

Saturday, 18 June 2016: Toffee hot chocolates and late doggie beach walks

Sleepy dog
This is just the sweetest dog. Bertie’s “Hello mom, I’m not fully awake yet” face always makes me smile.
Coffee at Greens
Breakfast coffee! We ventured out to Green’s first thing on Saturday. Look at me all casual-like. Lol. That’s actually a very necessary neck up-prop as I was so very tired and the coffee hadn’t yet worked its magic.
Mushroom eggs benedict
Husband went for the mushroom eggs benedict, he loves this version.
Waffle with banana and caramel at Green's
Mmm. I went for the waffle with banana and caramel. A very good choice.
Reload Parklands coffee
Later that day, we stopped in at Reload in Parklands for a coffee break. Husband had a double cappuccino, I had a toffee hot chocolate. Lovely little toffee nibs graced the bottom of my cup πŸ™‚
Dogs at beach
The doggies were delighted to find their favourite beach deserted that evening. They hopped through the foam and swam and scrambled over rocks. Such fun.
Dog doing doggy paddle in the sea
You can just see Bertie demonstrating his doggy paddle here. He’s very good at it.
Mini dachshund on beach
See how far little miss Bass ran when we freed her from her leash? She’s that little brown dot on the horizon. ❀
Dogs in sea
Trotting closer to her dad and brother so she could gnash her teeth menacingly at her arch-enemy, the sea foam.
Dog in car at night
Bassie let me take a photo to show just how late it was when we finally went home. The sun had set! The streetlights were on! It was about 18:40…
Dogs in front of fire.
The doggies warmed themselves in front of the fire once we got home.
Small dog by fire in winter
Teehee. Bassie sure does love being warm and dry. Typical mini dacschund
Dogs on couch
Eventually both settled on the couch under blankies.
Coffee, cupcake and owl
Late night coffee and cupcake to keep me going – think this was just before midnight, when the Cannes Lions winner tables were finally looking pretty πŸ™‚

Sunday, 19 June 2016: Father’s Day breakfast and lupper

Father's Day breakfast at News Cafe
Father’s Day, Father’s Day! Despite a late night and more work to do on the day, we were “up and at ’em” early enough for the early bird English breakfast at News Cafe in Table View with mom and dad for Father’s Day.
Double cappuccino at Reload
Work done for the day we went in search of another ‘cold day treat’… and we had enjoyed our coffee break at Reload the day before so much that we ended up there again. Here is Husband with his second double cappuccino of the weekend…
Toffee hot chocolate at Reload
I had another toffee hot chocolate – this time with a swirl of toffee syrup on top! Delicious!
Dog in winter jersey.
T’was cold enough for the doggies to wear their winter jerseys/pajamas that day. Bertie took his off before we went to the parents for lupper, Bassie was still wearing hers. And somehow ended up with cream on her forehead, teehee.
Father's Day
We almost forgot to take a pic of just me and dad together, as t’was Father’s Day. Here you go…

That’s all, folks! We’re in for another chilly weekend so keep warm…

Slow-cooked winter lunches & chocolate mushroom forests at Grande Provence

Last weekend was all about savouring extremely slow-cooked deliciousness at Franschhoek’s Grande Provence. Click here to click through the galleries of their official owned pics that I added in my official review, or scroll through the ones we took below…

Saturday, 11 June 2016: Sampling Grande Provence’s slow-cooked Winter delights

Dog licking human nose
The day dawned cold and grey but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we were excited about the lunch we’d be filling our bellies with soon. Bertie also shared some morning kisses to broaden our smiles.
Grande Provence in Franschhoek
Our wonderful lunch venue for the day – Grande Provence in Franschhoek. Highly recommended!
Grande Provence vineyards
The vineyard, Franschhoek mountains and wintery grey sky.
Cheese straws at Grande Provence
Just look at that fire – we were seated at the closest table to it. Those cheese straws were the stuff of legends.
Millionaire's bacon and eggs at Grande Provence
My ‘Millionaire’s bacon and eggs’ starter. Full description here in my official review.
BBQ lobster at Grande Provence
Husband went for the BBQ lobster starter.
12-hour beef cheek at Grande Provence
My 12-hour beef cheek mains.
18-hour Karoo lamb at Grande Provence
Husband’s 18-hour Karoo lamb mains.
Chocolate forest mushroom dessert at Grande Provence
Husband’s ‘chocolate forest’ dessert, complete with sweet mini mushrooms.
Chocolate mousse at Grande Provence
Lovely kisses of hazelnut pot au crème, hidden by the disc of tonka bean semi-freddo.
Hot fondant dessert at Grande Provence
My hot fondant dessert, complete with salted cocoa twig and a pipette of Amarula. Yes.
Cappuccino
My cappuccino with chess board sugar cubes and mini chocolate fondant truffle.
Franschhoek streets
Tree-lined streets just begging to be explored as we slowly rolled out of town, so explore them we did…
Boschendal in Franschhoek
We ended up having a wander around Boschendal, another gorgeous afternoon setting.
Chairs at Boschendal
These chairs are just asking to be lazed in! You can order a picnic on the grounds and do just that. We were obviously too full to do so on this visit, but watch this space!
Boschendal squirrel
With such woodsy scenery, little wonder the grounds are riddled with little squirrels, running here and there.
Boschendal squirrel
A little Boschendal squirrel trotting up a tree trunk with acorn in his mouth. So sweet.

Sunday, 12 June 2016: Breakfast at The Daily Cafe, Eden on the Bay

Tin cup a The Daily
Surprisingly we were hungry when we woke on Sunday, so we followed our noses towards the sea and ended up at The Daily Cafe in Eden on the Bay. I had to try the ‘tin cup’ – espresso sweetened with condensed milk. No sugar required!
lemon poppy seed berry cheesecake' pancakes at the Daily Cafe.
To eat, t’was a very tough choice but I settled on these ‘lemon poppy seed berry cheesecake’ pancakes. Such a good choice, definitely going back for these again!
Breakfast wrap at the Daily.
Husband opted for the breakfast wrap. He made appreciative noises after every mouthful.
Coal at beach
The weather had brightened a bit after the previous day’s gloom, so we decided to go coal picking. Here is Husband trotting along and picking bits of coal out from among the mussel shells strewn along the coastline.
Table Mountain and cloudy sky
Gorgeous streaks of cloud over Table Mountain.
Springbok milktart
After the Springboks were thrashed in the rugby on Saturday, it seemed only fitting to eat this ‘Springbok milktart’ at Mum’s on Sunday eve. Teehee we’re a vengeful bunch.

Thursday, 16 June 2016: Youth Day eggs benedict

Eggs benedict at The Daily
I was rather snuffly on this week’s public holiday so unfortunately neglected to take lots of pics, but you’re not missing much as we slept in very late and t’was a day of relaxing and retail therapy… and we went back to The Daily. Here is Husband’s salmon eggs benedict post-peppering but pre-Tabasco saucing.

That’s all, folks! I’ll likely not budge far from the laptop for the next few weeks as Cannes Lions 2016 has just kicked off, so we’re in for a recap of this post from last year, but Husband will hopefully drag me away for the odd treat, which I’ll try remember to photograph for you.

*Disclaimer: Obviously our meal at Grande Provence was part of their review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.Β Click here for a reminder of other things to do in Franschhoek.

Robben Island tour and winter sunset curries

If you’re new to my blog you may not yet know that I love love LOVE Cape Town’s Winter specials. They’re an enticing way to lure us out over those frosty, wet weekends and evenings we’d otherwise be huddled up sadly under blankets, with the bonus of usually being at half-price. That’s exactly why we revisited Inside Lounge’s half-price Winter Monday/Tuesday chicken curry special this week – scroll through pics from that and other recent highlights below…

Wednesday, 1 June 2016: Robben Island ferry trip

Lunch box on ferry
The month of June dawned with the annual Kantar Media TV research conference taking place in Cape Town for the first time. After a full morning of tweeting, note-taking and networking we were hustled out of the Westin hotel, onto shuttles to the various activities we’d been booked onto. Us Robben Island ferry-goers were presented with these boxes of lunch filled with juice, crackers, muffins, wraps and apples. See the closed and open versions.
Sikhululekile ferry to Robben Island
All were surprised by just how large this ferry was for the trip across. Even though the sea was violent on the day we were relatively safe indoors, though a few brave souls did venture onto the open top. This was the hazy view of the Waterfront out right from Sikhululekile, the largest of three vessels that make the trip. You’re on the island for almost 4 hours at a pop so there are only 3 ferry trips a day, at roughly 27 minutes per 12km trip. Yes, I timed it. The water was that choppy.
Robert Sobuwe children beds on Robben Island.
One of the most photographed rooms on Robben Island – not Mandela’s cell but the room where political prisoner Robert Sobukwe’s children slept when granted permission to visit him in his own specially built solitary confinement prison on the island.
Coffee on Robben Island
Robben Island touring is emotionally tiring work, and that’s before you even delve beyond the non-political history. Did you know it was a leper colony (segregated by gender to prevent further leper births – 40 or so still somehow were born there, and several of these human bones were dug up?) It also served as an animal quarantine station… all a lifetime before becoming a military base. Lunch boxes long empty, we were treated to coffee and snacks in the tiny tea room on the island.
Robben Island photo frame
Table Mountain went into hiding behind all the thick cloud on the day – still a pretty shot with all these Wintery blues/greys and greens.

Kantar Media Robben Island
Lack of Table Mountain aside, this is still a good group shot! Only two South Africans in this pic (both of us on Robben Island for the first time), the rest were all international conference delegates. All thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Lighthouse on Robben Island
The sky brightened as we continued our bus tour. Snapped from the other side of the island, the lighthouse is so sweet and fully functional. We also saw bokkies scampering about and lots of penguins near the coast. The island is only 12km in circumference so easy to get around.

Thursday, 2 June 2016: Conference treats at the Westin

Donuts at the Westin
Just look at that. The Westin outdid itself with this elevensies treat on Thursday morning – fresh glazed mini donuts and the most delicious coffee. If you’re wondering if I actually got any work done at the conference, click here and here for overviews of each day’s topics.

Friday, 3 June 2016: Masterful dinner plating

Pork rashers and mini baked potatoes
Isn’t this an appetising sight? Inspired by all the fancy gourmet meals we’ve reviewed lately, Husband put his plating skills to the test with this pork rasher/mini baked potato plate last Friday eve. It tasted even better than it looks!

Saturday, 4 June 2016: Petit Fours breakfast, Portuguese lunch at Dias Tavern

Eggs benedict at Petit Four.
We were up bright and early on Saturday so zoomed along to Petit Four on the beachfront – if you get there after 9am you just can’t get a table. Husband went for the traditional eggs benedict. At R80 it’s perhaps a tad pricey but most delicious, he left not a smidge of Hollandaise sauce on that plate.
Peanut butter marshmallow toast at Petit Four
I went for possibly my oddest breakfast choice yet. This ‘his and hers’ toast features smashed avo, feta and cheery tomatoes on the green slice, while the brown side is chunky peanut butter, roast marshmallow bits and chocolate ganache. Yes really, and no I didn’t smush the two halves together.
Birthday cake and caramel horns
After a few quick Saturday morning chores we were at Uncle Al’s house in West Beach to celebrate his recent 60th birthday. That there is a tiramisu cake, into which a sparkler was placed and lit, and those caramel horns are just amazing if you have a sweet tooth as strong as mine. Back right are little cheesy scones, and this entire spread was soon replaced by mini bobotie and springbok savoury pies. We ate and we ate!
Katembas at Dias Tavern
Next stop? More food! The parents had booked tickets for Kanala at the Fugard Theatre ages ago, and it always makes sense to stop in for a meal at Dias Tavern when doing so. Husband and Dad started off with catembas, which are these here mugs of Coke and red wine.
Sardines and chorizo at Dias Tavern
Dad went for these Portuguese specialities: grilled sardines and sliced chorizo. Mmmm.
Kanala at Fugard Theatre
Teehee. Mum and me posing much like Husband and I did when we last ‘theatred’ there, almost exactly a year ago. Click here if you don’t remember.

Sunday, 5 June 2016: Driftwood breakfast and Nando’s chilli hot chocolate

Duckling breakfast at Driftwood
We had a long leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning as had dropped off the car for a thorough wash then trotted across to the Driftwood Cafe. This ‘duckling’ breakfast came to a whopping R25 – including a cup of coffee!
Breakfast at Driftwood
Husband had the pricier and definitely more filling option – there’s a minute steak under that blob of peri sauce, as well as sausages, rashers of bacon, fried eggs, sweetcorn fritters and toast (not pictured).
Chilli hot chocolate at Nando's
As a treat later that afternoon Husband took me to our nearest Nando’s to try their chilli hot chocolate. It’s only on certain menus and not available as take-away. Left just a hint of burn on the tongue.

Monday, 6 June 2016: Sunset curries at Inside, Big Bay

Curry at Inside Lounge
Sunset curries! By Monday evening Husband was coughing and sneezing but he put on a brave face so we could have our first ‘sunset curry’ of 2016 at Inside Lounge in Eden on the Bay. These were piping hot and so delicious.
Big Bay sunset
We stayed for a sunset snap before heading home as I had an online lecture to attend that evening. We had left home just after 5pm for dins and we were back barely an hour later.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016: Solo work trips and sick husbands

sunrise in Woodstock
Husband was Very Sick by Tuesday so he stayed home to rest and I set off to work by bus. That’s the tail-end of sunrise, at around 07:45am in Woodstock – you can just see Lion’s Head peeping out on the horizon.
Sick husband on couch
Husband and Bertie spent much of the evening like so, poor things.
Dachshund under blanket
Bassie decided to get deep under the blankets. T’was that cold.

And that’s all, folks! You’ll be pleased to note that Husband is almost back to 100% functionality. Snow is predicted in some parts this weekend, so keep warm…

What to do in Franschhoek

Yay, weekend! If you’re based in Cape Town, have a full talk of petrol and an empty few days ahead of you, why not follow in our footsteps and explore the wonderful town Franschhoek tucked in the wine-growing valleys of the Western Cape, as we did last weekend. Just 80km or so from the city, you’ll be there in just over an hour if you leave now… tell them I sent you! Start your engines, get set, go!

Of course these pics taken on our cameras didn’t even do the landscape and history-steeped buildings justice. Click here to click through the galleries I added in my official review, which includes eye-wateringly beautiful pics of Le Quartier FranΓ§ais, its Tasting Room and the surrounds, all owned by the Leeu Collection.

Stop to sightsee on the way in

Road to Franschhoek
Before you know it that city bustle falls away and you’re surrounded by tall greenery and satisfyingly flat roads. You can capture stunning shots like this even with your phone camera, through the car windscreen, while moving. Yes.
Rickety Bridge Winery tram
Take note of moving vehicles, as they’re likely not what you’d expect. This is the wine tram at Rickety Bridge Winery – we stopped and watched in awe as the passengers stood up and changed the direction of the seat backs before the tram set off in the other direction. Very clever as it’s a single track.
Rickety Bridge
So awed were we that we stopped in for a wine-tasting. Here’s proof that I was there. Sadly there’s no longer a ‘rickety bridge’ at the winery.
Rickety Bridge samples
Husband with some of the lovely bottles he got to sample.Β R20 gets you six assorted samples.
Pancakes at Good Food & Co in Franschhoek
A little later we simply had to stop the car again when we saw the relaxed setting at Good Food& Co as our tummies were rumbling. Isn’t this just the prettiest plate of pancakes you’ve ever seen? They were even more ‘lekker’ (manageress’ description, not mine) than they look, filled with sliced banana and caramel cream.
Amuse bouche at the Good Food & Co in Franschhoek
Even more delightful? Our drinks were served with a dinky little ‘amuse bouche’ cupcake. Husband is suitably impressed.
Tree in Franschhoek
Of course you’ll play hide-and-seek while wandering through the shopping district a little further up the road. Yes, that is Husband just peeking out from behind the tree, teehee.
Tuk tuk microbrewery in Franschhoek
After a little stroll down the street you’ll want to stop and stretch those legs. Leeu Collection’s Tuk Tuk microbrewery is perfectly placed (and priced) to attract those weary strollers, on your way toward the Huguenot Monument side of the street.
CBC taster at Tuk Tuk
Of course you’ll try out the R55 beer sampler of various CBC craft beers at the Tuk Tuk microbrewery. Husband’s favourite was the lager.
Inside Tuk Tuk microbrewery
Who were we to refuse the friendly waiter who insisted on snapping a shot of the two of us inside the microbrewery? He took great care angling the camera, the lighting and us to get this shot. We had to move three times, I think, for this perfection. πŸ˜‰
Sunset at Huguenot Monument in Fraschhoek
Beers sampled, we soldiered on down the road to take in the beauty of the Huguenot Monument. Undaunted by the locked gate, I simply hopped up onto the boundary wall for this shot, just before sunset.

Sleep over at Le Quartier FranΓ§ais and don’t miss the Tasting Room’s eight course, African-inspired menu

Pool at LQF
And then it was time to explore our location for the night – LQF or ‘Le Quaf’. Just look at that solar-heated pool. Those mountains in the background. All that dappled sunshine. T’was pure weekend bliss.
Lavender at LQF
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m partial to purple, so top marks for the plants fitting in with the colour scheme!
Monkey seesaw
The playful garden decorations at the LQF pool.
Umbrellas at LQF
Our blue door. Bright umbrellas too, just in case. We didn’t need to use them but it was a comforting thought knowing they were there.
Patio set at LQF
The sweet patio set outside our windows.
Bed at LQF
The bed was deceptively large and the lighting cosy, especially when warmed by the crackling log fire in the room.
Le Creuset coffee at LQF
In case you thought those pancakes earlier didn’t quite fill me up, Husband was kind enough to brew a cuppa Lavazza coffee (the purple pod, if you must know) in the yellow Le Creuset cups we found waiting for us in our room.
Pink MCC
Orange sightseeing cap replaced with red lippy, we were handed complimentary flutes of rose MCC on being seated at the Tasting Room. The bowl of white fluff is actually a black pepper-dish that melts onto the tongue. It was the first of many surprises.
Wine glass at the Tasting Room
Keen to get started on his eight-course pairing (yes, EIGHT courses, plus many tasty extras), Husband posed with the wire glass poised on our table. Much, much later – three hours later – we toddled back to our rooms for a peaceful, fire-crackly sleep.

Factor in a long, leisurely breakfast in the Living Room

Hot chocolate at the Living Room.
Having already savoured a coffee in our room, I was ready to try the Living Room’s hot chocolate the next morning. It was a wonderful thing, which stayed pipingly hot throughout my meal – and I ate plate after plate of delicious food!
Egg benedict at the Living Room
The ‘egg benedict’ on the breakfast menu is just that, a single egg poached, Hollandaised and served on porky heaven. That’s because you’re expected to also fill up on the breakfast buffet. Here’s why…
Breakfast buffet at the Living Room
See the delightful continental breakfast buffet? Each item is carefully curated to add to your overall breakfast feast.

Take the long road home

Haute Cabriere bench
We recommend taking a slow trip back home after your stay in Franschhoek. The ‘scenic route’ only takes a little longer and will have you stopping to sigh at the lovely photo-worthy bench at the very edge of the Haute Cabriere Wine Estate.
Haute Cabriere Wine Estate photo frame.
We took a picture from both sides of this frame as couldn’t decide which was the better shot. This ended up as the winner.
Franschhoek valley
The long, windy mountain road almost guarantees you’ll take a handful of shots like this – cheesy grin above postcard-perfect shots of the Franschhoek valley.
Franschhoek Pass
There’s a helpful sign at the base of Franschhoek Pass that shows you’re only 740m above sea level. Pilot-minded Husband commented that’s only half the height of Lanseria.

That’s all, folks. I can’t recommend it enough. Thanks for stopping by, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my overview of what to do in Stellenbosch last month, click here. πŸ™‚

*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Le Quartier Français and meals at the Tasting Room and the Dining Room were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.