Cape Town’s rainbows, wintery beaches and the Hout Bay cannon

You know that sad, sad situation? No, not the one Elton John has been singing about for decades now. The one where your body seems to handle a stressful situation well… Then the stressful situation passes and you fall prey to every passing bug and sniffle? Yes, THAT sad, sad situation. Husband and I have both been there the past few days – luckily his horrible head cold is finally passing, but my recovery is still a few days behind.

That’s not to say we’ve been missing out on fun times of late. Oh no, quite to the contrary…

Friday, 22 July 2016: Rainbow after heavy rain in Cape Town

Cape Town rainbow
Taking snaps of rainbows is no easy task, and they usually don’t turn out well at all. This rainbow last Friday morning was so impressive we all took a turn at photographing it out of the office window.

Saturday, 23 July 2016: UK treats and Spanish dinners

Treats from UK Emporium
No trip to Cape Town is complete if you’ve not visited the UK Emporium. The shop, tucked away in a business park walking distance from Paddocks Shopping Centre, offers all sorts of international goodies – often marked down if they’re nearing expiry date. I tried the ‘Raspberry & Passionfruit’ Fanta and ‘Rocky Mallow Road’ choccies. All bright, fruity flavours.
Coffee at Flamingo Vlei
The weather turned a little overcast again so Husband decided to take Mother for a coffee to warm up. Just look at the two of them at Reload in Flamingo Vlei! I’ve decided to call this picture ‘Concentration’. πŸ™‚
Chocolate peppermint latte at Reload
One does not mess around with one’s coffee order. That’s why I went for the chocolate-peppermint latte – It was just what I needed to ward off the chill for a little while.
Walking on melkbos beach
Suitably perked up, we set off by vehicle and ended up at the Melkbos side of the Cape coastline. Husband was brave enough to dip his feet in the icy sea. We weren’t.
Beach in winter
T’was so cold I was positively shivering in my jersey, you wouldn’t think so from Captain Summer’s breezy tee-shirt, though!
Pizza at Espana
After a bit more sightseeing it was time to meet my parents at Espana in Burgundy Estate for paella. Here is Husband with Mum and Dad, who went for a pizza instead of the paella, as you can see…
Paella at Espana
You can just make out the pans of paella in this shot. We ate it all, scraping our pans clean and bringing home leftovers for lunch where we failed to do so.

Sunday, 24 July 2016: News Cafe breakfast, exploring Hout Bay

News Cafe early bird special
You wouldn’t think we’d be hungry again the next morning, but hungry we were! So we all met at the nearest News Cafe as we love their early bird English Breakfast special.
Signal Hill
Next, we set off for Signal Hill. Mother refused to take a photo in the National Geographic frame that’s hiding behind a tree to the right of this shot, but she was fine with posing like this. Clearly we have no such qualms.
Deep-fried Bar-One at Hout Bay market
Next stop? The Hout Bay market! We’d worked up a fair appetite by then, so the other two found some delightful sushi type meals – I couldn’t walk away from the ‘deep-fried Bar-One’ stand without trying them. Quite delightful as the carmel sauce oozes out when you bite into the piping hot pastry. Three like this for R20. Click here for reminder of the deep-fried Oreos you can get at Hudson’s.
Hout Bay cannons
We also wandered around the grassy bits at the back of the market, where you can gaze at the shore opposite and stand almost directly in the cannons’ firing line, as we did.
Hout Bay cannon
Passing boats also found themselves ‘in the firing line’, teehee. Such a pretty shot.
Hout Bay
Lo and behold, Husband’s former colleague Chris was having exactly the same sort of sight-seeing Sunday! I convinced the two of them to stand together for a pic (imagine them making pirate type noises while doing so). Click here for a reminder of Chris’ steampunk-themed wedding, almost two years ago.
Constantia scenery
Beautiful greens, blues and greys as we travelled back home a little later.
Cartoon dogs in car
Following a brief nap we set out again, this time with the doggies, for a beach walk. Note that even though I used the ‘cartoonify’ filter, you can still clearly see Bassie looks concerned while Bertie stands up to peek over his dad’s shoulder, such excitement! πŸ™‚
Dog on beach
After much dashing about like a blur and looking in the wrong direction, we got Bertie to look almost at the camera during his walkies.
Dogs on beach
Haha. By the time we got to Bassie’s photo, everyone but me had given up and already turned back for the long walk back to vehicle.

Monday, 25 July 2016: Doggies deliberate over #HillsDreamMaker delivery

Hill’s Pet Food is very kind to our doggies, often dropping off treats and samples of new products that might tempt them to switch their tastes. Here’s a reminder of their blog on the Hill’s Ideal Balance Food and Lazy Bed pouch if you’ve forgotten. On Monday, they got their latest delivery…

Dogs on couch
See? Doggies pretending to be sleeping on the couch when we got home from work on Monday evening ,so they clearly knew something was afoot.
Hill's and dog
Ever-so-beautifully packaged, the image on the left is how the delivery arrived at Husband’s work. The pic on the right shows Bertie’s excitement. He even dropped his ever-present dinosaur toy to pay full attention to the occasion.
The HillsDreamMaker
But, after much sniffling around it and Minion-type conversation, Bassie decided it’s her new favourite thing. Here is she in the pillow, beneath a blankie, in front of the fire Husband lit that eve. She didn’t budge. If you’d like one for your own pet, have a look at your nearest vet this August. Tell them Bassie sent you πŸ™‚

That’s all, folks! Hope you’ve steered clear of all the cold-season germs out there so you can enjoy your weekend…

Selfies with dogs and seafood platters at Panama Jacks

It has been an exciting week all round, with Mother-in-law, AKA Mother, jetting in from JHB to stay with us, so we have all sorts of fun activities planned with her for the next few days. See a few of our most recent highlights below…

Friday, 15 July 2016: Doggy daddy play

Dogs on couch
After work last Friday, the doggies decided it was time to ‘attack daddy’. If this was a video instead of photo, you’d see them frantically dashing from side to side, nipping at fingers and growling at anything that got in the way. They had a jolly time!

Saturday, 16 July 2016: Lacomia breakfast, Doodles dins

Cafe Lacomia cappuccino
If you head down to your nearest Builder’s Warehouse, chances are there’s a Cafe Lacomia tucked inside. We ventured into ours last Saturday morning as had all sorts of DIY tasks to tick off our to do list for the day… but also had rumbling tums to satiate. This cappuccino dusted with chocolate did the trick for me…
French toast at Cafe Lacomia
Especially when washing down this delightful French Toast that looks just like a waffle. T’was dusted in cinnamon sugar and a spattering of syrup, mmm. Kept our bellies purring all day as we completed those assorted tasks I mentioned, all the way through to dins, in fact.
Bullseye breakfast at Lacomia
Husband went for the Bullseye – two poached eggs, mushrooms, grated cheese and a frank. They seem to have updated their menu fairly recently as Zomato lists all sorts of other things and not what we remember.
Doodles winter specials
We returned to Doodles that evening to try out a few more of their specials. I went with the soup and pita option (R35) and Husband had his favourite – bangers and mash (R59).

Sunday, 17 July 2016: Morning at the Driftwood

Ducks at the Driftwood Cafe
On Sunday we decided on a stroll across to the Driftwood Cafe while our car was being washed. We were the only humans there, and enjoyed watching all the ducks get their breakfast. See them on the grass behind me.
Breakfast at Driftwood Cafe
We weren’t the only humans for long though as the sunshine got everyone out and about – even Mum (that’s mine, not to be confused with Husband’s Scottish Mother) and Dad popped in and joined us!
Nachtmusik with ice cream and grapefruit gin
The warm weather continued to such an extent that we had fancy cocktails at Mum’s that eve – grapefruity gin drinks and Nachtmusik with ice cream.

Monday, 18 July 2016: Col Cacchio lunch with parents and doggy selfies

Coffee shake at Col Cacchio
I had the day off on Monday, so Mum and Dad took me to Col Cacchio in Big Bay to try their new Winter lunch menu. For liquid beginnings I had a coffee shake. You can just see Mum’s Sprite Zero and Dad’s Smirnoff Storm in the background.
Col Cacchio Big Bay
What a lovely lunch we had! See our starter salami pizza bottom right and Mum with her bowl of pasta. Scrumdiddlyumptious, as the BFG would say (no, have not yet seen the movie) and all at less than R60 per bowl.
Dog on couch
After lunch I decided to read on the couch. Bertie slowly sidled closer and closer. Eventually I decided to document the doggy sense of adventure. These are some of my favourites.
Dachshund on couch
My attempts with Bassie were much more cautious as she is just so very suspicious of the camera. Also included Bertie’s most serious selfie so you can see the family resemblance.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016: Airport pick-up and seafood platter at Panama Jacks

Cold sky and mountains in Cape Town.
Tuesday dawned gloomy and grey. We got up late and headed towards the airport to collect our precious cargo for the week.
Panama Jacks
We met Mum and Dad at Panama Jacks for lunch as it’s a family favourite. Here’s a family shot (taken by Mother, that’s why she’s missing from the pic), so you can see the inside decor of Panama Jacks – I think every other time we’ve dined there, we sat facing the other wall.
Panama Jacks' seafood platter lunch
How lovely! Mother and son sharing the seafood platter special at Panama Jacks.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016: Haggis for dins

Haggis and mashed potatoes
We clearly don’t see Scottish Mother very often as she lives in JHB at the moment, so when we do see her there’s a strong chance that haggis is involved. That’s just what happened on Wednesday night, and we ate it all.

That’s all for now, folks. Tune in again next week for more of our adventures with Mother, before she returns to the big smoke! πŸ™‚

What your Winter 2016 is missing: Lamb shank and gluhwein at Mondiall

Hello, hi, hooray! I’ve taken a few days off next week – call it a mid-winter break, if you will. Mother-in-law is flying down for a visit this week and we have all sorts of fun things planned. So today is a good place to be. πŸ™‚

Highlights of the past week include the ultimate winter warmer meal we got to review at Mondiall at the V&A last Saturday. (It’s the same place I used to go for their chocolate sundae… on a Sunday When I had purple hair). But first a bit of a catch-up…

Sunday, 3 July 2016: Milkshakes and doggies

Remember we spent the night in Wellington? We took the long way home through Durbanville and marvelled at the oddly chopped trees.
Rocomamas shakes
We stopped at Rocomamas for their legendary shakes on the way home. That’s Husband with the caramel vodka shake, while I had a mug of creme brulee shake. Delicious.
Finally home, the doggies were also back from their pajama party at their grandparents. Bertie looks happy, Bassie not so much.

Monday, 4 July 2016: Doodles winter specials for dins

Winter special at Doodles
We treated ourselves to dinner at Doodles on the beachfront on Monday – their winter specials mean Husband’s linefish (angelfish on the night) with baked potato came to R69, while my chicken schnitzel with pepper sauce and fries was R59. Husband had his with a draught, mine with a caramel shake, both with a view of the sunset over the sea. Simply magical.

Wednesday, 6 July: Meet our office mascot, Uma

Office dog
She’s only been to the office once but everyone loves our founder’s doggy, Uma. She was very well-behaved.

Friday, 8 July: Chicken curry rotis work lunch at work

Lunch at desk
We were treated to homemade chicken curry in rotis for lunch at work last Friday. Delicious. The pic on the right is what I usually end up foraging for lunch at my desk. Now you know πŸ™‚

Saturday, 9 July 2016: Sleepy doggies and Mondiall’s wonderful July Winter menu

Dog on bed
The doggies were in playful sleepy mode when they woke up on Saturday. Here is Bertie, offering up his belly for tickles…
Dog on bed
Little Miss Bassie was all sorts of funny. First she settled herself between my pillows, then she wormed her way between pillows and headboard… and fell asleep sitting upright. ❀
Waterfront at night
Following a day of weekend admin and chores that just aren’t interesting enough to be photographed we headed off to the Waterfront to review the July Winter menu at Mondiall. We don’t often go out at night, particularly in winter, so it was a novelty to see all the pretty fairy lights and the Wheel glowingly brightly at the Waterfront.
Mondiall light fitting
Look at that squiggly light and inviting fire. Lovely winter meal setting, Mondiall. Those tables you see were all shifted out the way for a salsa class later that evening.
Gluhwein at Mondiall
Husband sampling his gluhwein. Got our bellies nicely fired up before all the comfort food started coming at us…
Table at Mondiall
But we started nice and slow. See our well lit table complete with glasses of wine, bread and butter. Husband sat at one end, me at the other, with a view over the harbour out the window to the right.
Mondiall July winter menu
Mmm, Mondiall! This is what the July Winter special comprises. Pork neck in Asian broth with skinny noodles crunchy edamame beans in top left, with bread to mop up the last of the sauce. Top right was my mains: The homemade tagliatelle with Gorgonzola, walnut, spinach and crisp onion. Bottom left was Husband’s mains: The lamb shank on bed of creamy potatoes with veg. Bottom right was the ‘Chef’s choice dessert on the night: A white chocolate fondant with mixed berry sorbet. Click here for my official review!

Sunday, 10 July 2016: News Cafe breakfast, Winter beach visit

News Cafe breakfast
Lol. We always try for a ‘group shot’ when we have the early-bird breakfast special at our local News Cafe. It had been closed for renovations since we were last there on Father’s Day, so we thought we’d breakfast there to surprise mom and dad if they decided to eat there too. They did. πŸ™‚
Beach with Table Mountain
T’was a perfect beach day on Sunday so we dipped our toes in the icy water at Dolphin Beach, my favourite for its icing sugar sand.
Dogs on couch
A week later, the attempt at ‘sitting on the couch with mommy’ photo results in the same doggy expressions. Happy Bertie, worried Bassie. So cute.
Cake and guineafowl placemats.
Mum made an amazing chocolate pudding/cake ‘just because’ when we popped in for lupper that eve. ❀ Love the guineafowl placemats.

That’s all folks! Tis another chilly weekend so I predict lots of snuggling ahead and hot drinks to be imbibed…

*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Mondiall were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.

What to do in Wellington

It’s well and truly winter in Cape Town, which means things are for the most part sad and grey. One way to revive your spirits when all around you is gloomy and glum is to get away from the weekend, as we just did, with no better town than Wellington to do so. It’s just over an hour from home, making it the perfect ‘feels so far away but doesn’t take all day to get there’ destination.

Click here for my official review, as the professional pics do a much better job than these from our phones, below…

The detour-filled roadtrip

Trees and clouds
If you’re only going away for the night, you don’t want to leave your leaving time to late – you also don’t want to drive straight there, missing all the sights on the way. Notice all the pretty trees and puffy clouds just a little off the daily commute-beaten track.
Waterwheel in Paarl
Instead of travelling directly from A to Z we took a slight detour through Paarl. Look at the wonderful waterwheel I’d have missed if my eyes were simply on the road ahead (note: Obviously this is a better idea for the passenger than the driver).
KWV brandy tasting
The reason for our Paarl detour? We’d popped into KWV for a wine-tasting last Father’s Day (click here for a reminder) and Husband was keen to try out their brandy tasting. He went for the ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate pairing’ – all this for R55, and you get French chocolate as it melts on the tongue faster than our SA brands, so is better suited to bringing our those brandy flavours.
KWV brandy tasting
Husband savouring those KWV flavours.

Relaxing in your room

Val du Charron driveway
We were soon back on the road and found Val du Charron in no time – that palm tree-lined driveway is quite impressive!
Local Grill at Val du Charron in Wellington
Look how lovely! Alas the wind was just too chilly for us to even consider sitting on that deck, but I think it’s just the thing on a Summer’s day.
Coach House tree
That tree is super enormous. Doesn’t look it as there’s a palm tree cut off in front of it but take my word for it. Shaded almost the entire Coach House.
Balcony at Val du Charron's Coach House
I think Husband was quite pleased with our room in the Coach House.
Stained-glass above pool at Val du Charron
Beautiful stained-glass work above the pool – so cold I can guarantee you’d get ill from a full dip in Winter, but must be the most amazing thing in summer. (Note to self: Return to Val du Charron in Summer!)
Coach House pool at Val du Charron
Welcome to the five-star Coach House suite. The pool is positively giving off frost it’s so chilly. But beautiful, sure.
Five-star Coach House suite
There’s a natural rock wall inside, behind me, and you can just see the bathroom in the distance.
Bathrobes in the Coach House at Val du Charron
Of course we tried out the bathrobes in our room much later that night, after a soak in the tub. It’s all part of the reviewing process.
COffee at the Coach House, Val du Charron.
I was soon warming up with a coffee Husband kindly created from the in-room plunger. Actually downed two cups as he made a full ‘plunge’. Plus gobbled up the crunchy ginger biscuits in the kitchen area while gazing at that remarkable view.
Rock wall in Val du Charron's Coach House
Husband in front of the internal rock wall (and TV). We watched a spot of rugby, then freshened up to go sightseeing…

Exploring the town

Cats on roof in Wellington
These kitties were willing to pose for a photo or two while sunning themselves on the tin roof.
Wellington church
This was the prettiest thing in the town of Wellington. Almost everything was closed, at 3pm. On a Saturday afternoon. Certainly not a bustling town.
Val du Charron's grounds in Wellington
And so, back we went to Val du Charron. Such a truly tranquil setting.
Wine tasting at Val du Charron
Wine tasting is included in your stay at Val du Charron – go just to hear the stories behind their three flagship wines: Four White Legs, Erasmus and the Black Countess. I summarised them here if you just can’t wait.
Dog at Val du Charron
We met this resident doggy while wandering around the grounds. He wasn’t interested in any form of communication with us.
Val du Charron horse
In fact, this horsey was much more talkative than the dog. Lol πŸ™‚
Val du Charron.
Husband quite enjoyed horsing around. (I’m just too punny). That’s the four-star accommodation behind him.

Watching the Wellington sunset

Sunset in Wellington
Soon the sun began to set. It was one of the most remarkable – and chilliest – sunsets I’ve seen, with snow on the mountains…
Fireplace at Coach House at Val du Charron
See? T’was so cold that we lit the fire on our patio.
Sun setting over the Hawequa mountains
Presenting: Sun setting over the Hawequa mountains.
Sunset in Wellington
The sunset. Made all the more surreal by that line of palm trees. I’d go back just to see this again. For reals.

Dining in The Local Grill

Dinner at The Local Grill, Val du Charron
One of Val du Charron’s biggest drawcards is the on site restaurant, The Local Grill, which opened its doors in October 2015. Here’s a civilised snap of us at our table for dinner that evening.
Local Grill place mats
The helpful place mats at the Local Grill explain where those mysteriously named pieces of beef actually come from.
Salmon starter at The Local Grill.
Husband went for the salmon starter. He gave it a big thumbs up.
Grass-fed pepper-rubbed fillet at The Local Grill.
For mains, Husband went for the grass-fed fillet, rubbed in pepper. Pic on the left is how it arrived. Pic on the right is how he ate it – smothered in a side of mushrooms and ‘Dijon mustard and chives’ sauce. He deemed it ‘Excellent’ – high praise indeed.
Chocolate shake and cheddar melt burger at Val du Charron
I went for a chocolate milkshake and the cheddar melt burger with a side of fries. Embarrassed to admit I barely managed to finish, and couldn’t even think of dessert. Means I can’t report back on the delicious-sounding local things like pecan nut pie, chocolate brownie, milk tart and malva pudding. Sob. There was nothing to do but sleep it off.
Muesli, fruit and croissant and cappuccino at The Local Grill.
Mmm, breakfast. There’s no better way to start the day. Back in The Local Grill the next morning, I opted for the muesli, yoghurt and fruit bowl, as well as a croissant with cheese, and a Terbodore cappuccino. Your eyes do not deceive you, that IS a second cappuccino cup on the table…
Cappuccino, toast and omelette at The Local Grill, Val du Charron.
Because even Mr ‘Coca-Cola for breakfast’ himself (that’s Husband) tried the cappuccino (after a Coke, of course.). He paired it with the omelette and brown toast. Bellies full again, all too soon we had checked out and made our way back home. We gave Bainskloof Pass a miss after all the wine-tasting ghost stories about it… maybe next time!

That’s all, folks, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my other Winter 2016 overviews of what to do in Stellenbosch in May and in Franschhoek in June, click here and here. πŸ™‚

*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Val du Charron and meals at the Local Grill were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.

Banoffee shakes, suburban sunsets and Mad Hatter boss birthday parties

Hellooo, loyal blog reader! πŸ™‚

I am in quite a jolly mood today as I took a day’s leave, so instead of constantly checking emails, loading articles, drinking gallons of coffee and editing others’ writing I have been taking naps, (still drank gallons of coffee) and letting my brain reset itself after the madness of the last few weeks.

I’ve also put together a few of our most recent highlights for you below, scroll and click at your whim.

Saturday, 25 June 2016: Meet Bertie’s new dinosaur, celebratory dins at Petiscos

Banoffee shake at Daily Cafe
We returned to our local Daily Cafe for Saturday’s breakfast – I’d already had a coffee at home so kicked things off with a banoffee shake. Was delicious and went very well with my caramel-apple pancakes (ate them too fast for a snap, sorry).
Breakfast wrap at The Daily Cafe
Husband’s breakfast wrap came with a portion of mini roast tomatoes and delicious chips. I helped him finish. So kind of me πŸ˜‰
Dog and toy
The pic’s a little blurry but just look at that happy grin! Bertie’s last chew toy/TV viewing companion had finally bitten the dust so we presented him with a new fluffy dinosaur on Saturday afternoon. He loves it πŸ™‚
Lindt flake shake
Later that evening we went to Petisco’s to celebrate my 96% final exam mark for Shaw Academy’s digital marketing course that I completed after hours in May/June. The eagled-eyed among you will note this was my second milkshake of the day – this time a ‘Lindt Flake shake’. Every bit as delicious as it sounds! Also note bread basket, perfect for dipping contents of into olive oil/balsamic vinegar swirls.
Petiscos chicken
Just look at Husband smiling at his food! He went for the chicken curry, I had the half-chicken xai xai, which is a delicious creamy sauce. Husband helped me finish. Lighting was quite dark so I stitched these two pics together so you could see both ends of the table. That’s not a disappearing man to the left of me πŸ™‚

Sunday, 26 June 2016: Stunning suburban sunset

McPherson's Irish breakfast
Just look at Husband smiling at his food again. This was his ‘Irish breakfast’ at McPherson’s on Sunday morning – your usual English breakfast with a side of potato wedges. I went for the banana-caramel pancakes. Again delicious, again eaten too fast for a photo. Oops.
Chilli con carne
When we got to Mum’s for lupper that eve she had outdone herself with this steaming chilli con carne and side dishes of avo and cheese, with pitas to hold it all together. Amazing!
Dog watching TV
Bertie was entertained by the music videos playing on the iPad. He bobs his little head around and sometimes whines in tune with the songs, and seems to be very curious about how animals get into those tiny screens.
Pink sunset in Cape Town
The wind was blowing and you could just tell it would be a magical sunset from the pink patches that started seeping across the sky…
Sunset in Cape Town
It sure was pretty! We all stood on the patio for a while gazing at the prettiness above us… before the cold become a bit much.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Mad Hatter party
Just some of the amazing ‘Mat Hatter’ themed eats and treats we surprised our big boss with on his birthday this week.
Mad hatter party
You can just see my ‘mad hat’ perched on my head – tis a tiny sombrero that usually lives on a teddy bear.
Bizcommunity Mad Hatter tea party
The Madly-Hatted Bizcommunity team. So much effort was put into this party by our entertainment committee and various in-house bakers, and the outcome was such a success. We had cake for days!

Friday, 1 July 2016: Breakfast and pastries with parents

Raith deli breakfast
After a brief lie-in, the parents popped in and treated me to breakfast at Raith deli in Gardens. This was dad’s sausagey double-cappuccino breakfast
Croissant and cappuccino at Raith's
I went for the ‘coffee and pastry’ combo instead – R35 for a cappuccino AND mammoth almond croissant, with a tunnel of almond paste along the bottom.
Forneri Italia cream puffs
The fun didn’t end there… We also stopped in for an assortment of amazing Italian cream puffs at Forneria Italia on the way home. These are all so good it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Might as well try one of each πŸ™‚

That’s all, folks! Tis set to be quite the chilly weekend here in the Cape so huddle up and keep warm.