Loeries 2018 is done and dusted but no need for FOMO: if you missed all the fun you can scroll through my pics below. This is a super bumper edition post as it also includes pics of our stay at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga last Sunday night. So make sure you have a hot drink at hand, your scrolling finger is ready and go, go, go!
Wednesday, 15 August 2018: Fly to Durban, lunch at the Versailles restaurant
Once I’d checked in at the airport on Wednesday morning I had time for a quick coffee and to snap the sunrise before meeting up with my colleague Angie for our flight to Durban. Good way to start the trip!
Once we landed at King Shaka Airport, adjusted to the humidity and found our hire car, we made our way to the Blue Waters Hotel on the Snell Parade. After checking in, we had time for lunch in the hotel’s Versailles restaurant before sorting out some work in our room. See the lovely setting, as well as my berry-topped cheesecake and strawberry milkshake. Angie went for the fish and chips with veggies and said it was delicious.
We were so busy working in the evenings that we didn’t leave our room, alas. These are various snaps of room service meals we ordered over our stay at the Blue Waters. Those snack baskets are lovely, the chips are delicious, the hot chocolate has real chocolate melted into the pot and that club sandwich could easily feed two!
Thursday, 16 August 2018: Moderating the Women in Marketing: Africa masterclass
We woke bright and early for our first big day on Thursday – see my ‘The future is female’ tee from Foschini, so fitting for the themes we covered on the day. Also see various stages of breakfast at the Versailles restaurant in the Blue Waters hotel, and the enormous tree guarding the Durban ICC, just five minutes from our hotel.
My Loeries fun kicked off with something different – I moderated the Women in Marketing: Africa launch masterclass. Click here for an overview of the topics discussed, if you missed it.
Probably one of the most delicious moments of the Loeries – stopping on a swing to try the chocolate-chilli ‘spicecream’ by Robertsons.
More about Thursday. Luckily all the Loeries events are held at the Durban ICC, so once you’ve registered it’s pretty easy to find your way around. See the registration desk, where we were pleasantly surprised to be told we were VIPs for the week. Also see me with Loeries CEO Andrew Human, and the lovely Nkgabi Motsau of Think Creative Hub – I’ve interviewed her a few times over the phone and email, so it was wonderful to bump into each other. Also see Angie and me enjoying our ‘spicecreams’ on the Instagram ‘head in the clouds’ swings when the seminar was finally over.
Friday, 17 August 2018: DStv Seminar of Creativity and Loerie Awards night one
Stages of sunrise as seen from our room, and breakfast downstairs in the restaurant.
A few of our Friday highlights – it was time for the DStv Seminar of Creativity, so we made sure to have a filling breakfast in the hotel before heading back to the Convention Centre (this is part two). It was ‘build-you-own-bunnychow for lunch – with authentic Durban curry, so these were fantastically hot. Also see the Convention Centre all lit up for the first awards show that night. We rushed back to our hotel room to change out of our casual outfits, then were ready for lights, camera, action!
A few more snaps from Friday night’s Loeries award ceremony at the Durban ICC. See me with Slo, who now works at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris. I met HER when I first covered the Loeries in Durban a good four years ago, and see Angie and me in all our Foschini finery.
Our posed snap from Gallo, on the red carpet with the Loeries and this year’s Wakanda-themed picture prettiers.
The award nights flew by in a whizz as we were tweeting, posting to Instagram and making articles live as the nights went on. No wonder we were exhausted by the time we got back to our room!
Saturday, 18 August 2018: Brand SA VIP Brunch and Loerie Awards night two
Saturday morning was the Brand South Africa VIP Brunch, held at California Dreaming on the beachfront. We were happy to sit and watch Durban life go by on the promenade beyond, while sipping away and munching on delicious snacks.
After a strong cappuccino we were ready to fit in some networking, too!
Saturday night version of the official Loeries red carpet team snap – this time in our own clothing with Foschini accessories (love that neckpiece!)
More from the Saturday night red carpet! See me with the big gold loerie, Angie and I at the logo wall and saying hi to Nkanyezi Masango of King James Group (they did really well on the night!)
Husband also kept me in the loop of how things were going back at home on Saturday. See the doglets snuggled together on the couch, cheersing his mom’s birthday, and breakfast with my parents. Also see Bassie, very interested in his dessert.
Sunday, 19 August 2018: A night at the Oyster Box Hotel
Husband also sent me snaps of his early morning at the Cape Town airport, where he waited for his flight to join me for a night. See the Cape Town Slow Lounge, his Kulula flight and view from the window.
Husband found the ‘loo with a view’ in the Cape Town Slow lounge hilarious!
Angie safely dropped off for her flight home and Husband collected for part two of my time in KZN, we hopped into an Uber and headed to Umhlanga. See some of the sights along the way.
Ahh, the Oyster Box. We loved everything we saw when we first arrived, including resident kitty Skabenga who let me pet him as he napped on a couch.
The main reception area is just gorgeous, with ornate red carpets, glass, mirrors and orchids everywhere you look.
If cakes are your thing, don’t miss high tea at the Oyster Box. We had a huge dinner to come so gave it a miss, but there’s also a slightly smaller ‘evening indulgence’ option if you have a spot of space left after those curries. We didn’t, sadly. Will have to return for it!
Our room was a pink, red and white delight. See the robes in the bathroom, the red-and-white lighthouse in walking distance and enticing private balcony.
Cheers! We clinked drinks once we’d had time to unpack and get over the gorgeousness of the view from our balcony.
It’s not a proper seaside stay if Husband hasn’t had a dip in the sea, so we trotted along the beach to the pier and of course he dunked himself in the Umhlanga waters – my first time on the KZN beachfront too, despite having arrived in Durban on the Wednesday! Note cute ‘sand brush’ for when returning from beach to hotel.
We even spotted a vervet monkey wandering the grounds!
Sunset from our balcony.
Don’t forget to explore the upstairs floor of the Oyster Box – we found the Clock Tower Room, host to a selection of toy soldiers, as well as the movie theatre stocked with sweets and soft blankets. Lots to do if the weather keeps you indoors!
A lovely nautical corner of the Oyster Box.
That night, we sampled the curry buffet in the Ocean Terrace. Proper review of the curries to come on Biz, and see my very chocolatey shake – with striped paper straw, of course.
All the colours deepen at the Oyster Box at night. We were quite exhausted after dins and ready for bed.
Wow, the Oyster Box room fairies went all out in our absence, decking the bed with towel swans, rose petals, chocolates and gowns. Here’s the resulting gown pic.
To a Capetonian, this is absolute heaven due to water restrictions in the province. The staff had sprinked more rose petals all around the edge of the super-large tub, and even left us scented candles. Bliss!
Monday, 20 August 2018: The Oyster Box breakfast buffet and King Shaka Airport Slow Lounge
The breakfast buffet spread is simply unbeatable. Look at all those cheeses, and you could eat oysters to your heart’s content! I think Husband stopped at 14.
Also see Husband’s Oysters Mornay bottom right, a selection of the cereals, the full breakfast menu and the pancake I topped with chocolate syrup, cream, banana slices and mini Astros. That’s how you do breakfast! And then…
The spa at the Oyster Box is open to guests, so we headed straight there after breakfast to spend some quiet time digesting and erasing some of the past weeks’ stresses.
I can’t tell you how relaxing it was the spend the morning hopping between this jacuzzi-like plunge pool and the Turkish hammam steam room. We left feeling ten times better than when we arrived. Us waterbabies could have easily spent the day there!
We spent a little time at the main pool (there’s another close to the spa) before it was time to check out. I can see why this is a firm Umhlanga favourite!
More shots of the gorgeous pool. See how we both bravely got in (that’s me in the bottom left shot) – and what a wonderful spot it is, to take your morning coffee.
We had enough time to spare before our flight to visit the Slow Lounge at King Shaka Airport – my first time. See the curry that made Husband’s eyes light up, the chocolate croissant and cappuccino that made me happy, and various other snacks.
Another snap of the Slow Lounge, and the British Airways plane that brought us home.
That’s all, folks! Hope my snaps did our whirlwind stay justice. We’ve both been a bit ill this past week, so it will probably be a quiet weekend on our side. Enjoy yours!
*Disclaimer: Our Loeries’ outfits and accessories were sponsored by Foschini, while meals and accommodation at the Oyster Box Hotel were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
Last week, our dear doggie boy Bertie turned 8. So despite us both having full plates of work, we made a plan to include delicious food and quality time with our furry children, too…
Thursday, 1 March 2018: Bertie’s 8th birthday
Aww! When we got home from work, I showed Bertie some of the birthday messages he’d received from friends and family on Facebook. He loved them, as you can see.
Teehee. This was the best option from a number of ‘birthday hat’ poses, I promise.
Friday, 2 March 2018: Coffee meet at Red Sofa Cafe
Did someone say ‘Friday coffee meet at the Red Sofa Cafe’? I was there like a bear, mirrored sunnies and all.
As it was breakfast time, I went for the flapjack stack. Brimming with blueberries, marscapone cheese and honey, it was delicious!
I tried the cheeseburger with sweet potato fries from the Bread Cafe downstairs for Friday lunch, once back in the office.
Saturday, 3 March 2018: Cup & Cake buffet breakfast
Husband was working again on Saturday, so I had a breakfast date my my parents at Cup & Cake at Eden, which has just moved to new premises. See some of the cakes and views here.
Also see my gingerbread latte, the sweet birdie sugar cup and more.
Table shot of all our eats and drinks at Cup & Cake.
We headed to Husband’s parents’ house for dins that eve, once he got home from work. Bassie was very affectionate with her dad.
Bertie ripped open his presents with a little help from his dad, and was delighted to meet his new TV-viewing companion, Seal. Bassie was happy to share his fancy doggy biscuits, too.
Bassie joined me while I had my post-dins coffee outside, just before the sun set. She wasn’t so sure about including Bertie in the photos, LOL.
Bertie snuggled with his seal on the couch that evening.
Teehee, he really loves his birthday seal!
Sunday, 4 March 2018: Breakfast at Village Place Cafe, Black Panther at GrandWest Casino
We all met at the Village Place Cafe for breakfast first thing on Sunday.
My Sunday cappuccino at Village Place Cafe.
Some of the food we ate. See Husband’s poached egg on a stack of sorts, as well as brother-in-law Spec’s more traditional plate of eggs, bacon, toast and tomato, with my banting flapjacks and mum-in-law’s mushroomy toast plate.
Later that morning, Spec met us at GrandWest Casino as we’d booked tickets to watch the latest Marvel movie, Black Panther. All had a fun time, as you can see 😉
Monday, 5 March 2018: Doggy snuggles on the couch
Bassie having a snuggle with her dad on the couch after another tough day at work.
It seems we interrupted an important conversation between the siblings when we snapped this photo of the doggies.
That’s all, folks! The weather looks quite chilly at the moment so perhaps we will give the beach a miss this weekend.
Last weekend we braved the Lion’s Head hike with brother Spec, as he’d not tackled it before. But first…
Friday, 20 October 2017: Galliova Awards at Landtscap, Stellenbosch
Last Friday, I covered the 2017 Galliova Awards. I started my day in the office, then caught a shuttle from the CTICC to Landtscap wine farm in Stellenbosch, and rubbed shoulders with celeb chef Zola Nene and this year’s ‘broiler champion’ for chicken-writing, Abigail Donelly.
Obviously the food for an event celebrating ‘food writers’ has to be exceptional. Landtscap outdid our expectations – click here for a full list of all the ‘chicken and egg’ themed food we ate.
T’was a truly lovely afternoon. Click here for all my words about it on Biz.
It was also #ChampagneDay, so I was happy to do my bit…
Saturday, 21 October 2017: Musselling and braai at our house
The three faces of Bassie when I had my first coffee of the weekend – “Mmm, that smells nice Mom, what is it? Oh it’s coffee. OK then, as you were.” What a cutie!
The entire Andrews family was going musselling on Saturday morning, an event that had been planned for months, with the resulting ‘catch’ to be eaten as starters at the braai at our house later that afternoon. Spec had driven over from Fish Hoek the night before to spend the weekend with us, so we all met up at Doodles on the beachfront for their weekend buffet breakfast.
A-musselling we will go! Tummies lined, we headed up the beach to Husband’s favourite spot for musselling, permits in hand.
Here’s the overall mussel haul. Soaking, about to be debearded and scrubbed for cooking.
As we were in need of the extra man power to complete the task, we took advantage of having Spec in the house to help replace the old helicopter fish tank centrepiece with this shipwreck. Also topped up the gravel and gave it a good grit vaccuum.
The doggies were on their sweetest behaviour during the braai later that afternoon.
Sunday, 22 October 2017: News Cafe brekkie, Lion’s Head hike
We knew we needed a big breakfast to sustain us on the hike ahead, so we joined my parents for breakfast at News Cafe in Marine Circle as you can’t beat the value of their R35 early bird English breakfast special.
We knew the task ahead of us so took it slow, with lots of breaks to admire the view along the way.
The best thing about the Lion’s Head hike is that it’s not a straight, endless line up to the top (ahem, looking at you Platteklip and Skeleton gorges!) Instead you wind around the peak a few times so there’s a new view every few metres.
Proof that we made it to the very tippy top of Lion’s Head.
Peak summitted, we began our slow climb down with a detour along the way. Success! Wally’s Cave isn’t easy to find if you’re coming at it from the top, as we were. We took a few wrong turns but eventually reached our destination. That’s Lion’s Head done and dusted in full.
We were in desperate need of a treat after that, so headed off to Beerhouse on Long Street. The Andrews brothers never say no to a beer, and as for me, well…
This is what I came for – the ‘beer float’ – listed on their dessert menu as it’s a mug of milk stout topped with salted caramel and bourbon ice cream, with honeycomb crumbs on a cloud of whipped cream above that, ribbons of dulce de leche and chocolate ganache dripping down the sides and cherry on top. Also served with a side of grilled marshmallow skewers.
Two more angles of my beer float, and Husband framed with his draught.
Coffee with cream and coconut-jam tartlets at Mum’s that evening.
Monday, 23 October 2017: Gourmet Guide launch at The Stack
I was invited to the launch of the second edition of the JHP Gourmet Guide on Monday morning, at The Stack in Gardens. It was a foodie event packed with delicious treats, tiger ceramics and sunny views.
The Stack is all animal-print carpets, wooden artwork and bright colours. I like.
Coffee and a scone? Don’t mind if I do!
Tuesday, 24 October 2017: Working lunch at Montebello
I had the opportunity to interview a team of very bright ‘design thinkers’ on Tuesday afternoon. Their office is in the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands so that’s where we met, with a wonderful lunch at The Gardener’s Cottage on the same grounds. See my cappuccino and chicken burger topped with cheese and pineapple-mayo. So yum, and such speedy service!
Wednesday, 25 October 2017: Adams & Adams IP crammer at 15 on Orange
I spent my Wednesday covering the Adams & Adams crammer day on intellectual property issues at the 15 on Orange. Very interesting topics I’ll write about soon, and so many snacks to keep us alert!
In case you missed it, this also happened this week… I’m the
only South African to be shortlisted for the Women in Marketing #WIMawards2017! Click here to read all about it.
That’s all, folks! I’m on leave Monday and Tuesday next week so looking forward to a few days of rest and switching off.
I can’t believe I managed to cut down the endless stream of pics we took this past week into the following, hundreds were left on the ‘cutting room floor’. It’s not usually this big of a task, especially when the bulk of the pics are not from the weekend itself. But this week was special as we had a few days to celebrate an ‘early anniversary’ at Angala Boutique Hotel and Guest House in Franschhoek, and it was possibly one of the nicest breaks we’ve had. Ever. See for yourself…
Saturday, 8 July 2017: Very belated post-Father’s Day breakfast at I ❤ Melkies
We’d not seen my in-laws for a while so decided to meet up for breakfast at I ❤ Melkies. All went for cappuccinos to start and various savoury meals, apart from me…
My own breakfast was a little sweeter – a regular cappuccino like the rest, as well as a single bacon marscapone waffle with strawberries and drizzle of syrup. Just what the doctor ordered.
News Cafe on Marine Circle was calling our names on Saturday afternoon. We heeded the call, opting for the happy hour strawberry daquiri and long island ice tea (just R39 each) as well as the ‘fired up’ beef and haloumi avo chicken burgers.
We snapped a few pics across the road at sunset once our bellies were purring. Lol at the variety of expressions Husband pulled – love that face!
Sunday, 9 July 2017: Soup for lupper
Sunday morning saw us starting off the day at the Netcafe at the Netcare Blouberg Hospital, simply because it’s just up the street and we’d heard the food is good. And so it was – see Husband’s brekkie top left and bottom right, along with my caramel latte and pepper toastie with sweet potato fries. Really yummy.
It was a fully rainy day, so we had authentic German pea-and-ham soup with cheesy breadsticks for starters at Mum’s that eve – note the fingerless glove/mittens, a sure sign that things had turned Wintery for the weekend.
Monday, 10 July 2017: Night away at Angala Boutique Hotel and Guest House, Franschhoek
We started off our ‘holiday’ with breakfast at All in the Kitchen – a special treat as it’s not open over weekends and closed by the time we get home in the evenings, so rare for us to sit and take in the goodness. And it sure is good – see some of the breakfast menu bottom right along with our flat whites, as well as the Omega Me Crazy salmon-y breakfast Husband opted for, and my delicious chicken mayo on brown – such a hefty portion that I took half home with me as ‘padkos’.
Yes, ‘padkos’ means road tripping! The weather played along and treated us to one of those rare Cape winter Goldilocks days – not too cold, not too hot, not too cloudy, not too windy – it was just right.
Out destination for the night – the five-star Angala Boutique Hotel and Guest House. It was pure bliss. Here’s why…
Once you’ve stopped exclaiming over the gorgeous vistas and natural beauty, you notice there are little ‘fairy’ touches dotting the grounds, hidden under bushes and tucked into unexpected corners – hearts, cherubs and angels all adding to the sense of love and the feeling that ‘you can relax here’.
And relax we did. A sign of its focus on complete wellness and that overwhelming sense of tranquility, one of Angala’s most unusual features is the eco pool. Echoing Mother Nature herself, all natural filtering takes place, and without any harmful chemicals, it’s just brimming with life – you can expect to hear frogs croaking and birds singing songs of joy as they swoop in for a sip. This is also the spot to sit and take in the view. See below.
The most inviting recliners at the eco pool. As they’re swathed in terrycloth dressing, taking in the view from there is like nestling in your comforting bathrobe.
Water is one of the main elements of healing and it features strongly at Angala, so us Aquarian water babies were quite literally in our element. Here you can see the cold pool in front of the infrared sauna below the main deck, with the hot pool hidden in this shot – it’s just in front of the garden umbrellas.
Cold pool on the left, hot pool on the right. I dipped a toe in the cold pool and decided the hot pool would be my home for the next few hours. We stayed in until the stars came out and it was time to get ready for dinner, so we trotted back to our suite, pronto.
Just a selection of the tasteful bedrooms we saw at Angala. All plush, fresh linens and soothing tones, each with its own distinctive personality. Ours was the bottom right, but I think the bed in the next pic was my favourite…
This photo just screams comfort, luxury and ‘room with a view’. Absolutely gorgeous.
A few examples of how your every comfort is taken care of at Angala – not just a handful of coffee sachets but the full complement of Nespresso pods, as well as sherry in every room, a well-stocked mini bar – make that ‘bar cabinet’ – that’s also completely complimentary including local wines, beers, soft drinks and milk for all that coffee.
Coffee cup filled with aromatic java and a view of the sun setting over the mountains is my idea of magic.
Dinner was so good I had to stitch together quite a few pics. Note my beetroot tart tatin starter, the wine Husband sampled and enjoyed so much he is looking out for a bottle to buy, his trout starter, his linefish mains (kingklip) and my lamb mains. Full descriptions on my review on Biz soon!
More dinner snaps – the standard ‘bread and menu’ shot, and dessert. That’s my lavender panna cotta topped with syrupy figs and tart berries, as well as Husband’s impressive cheese and nut board. Impressive as he enjoyed every single cheese on the board, including an unexpectedly soft, sweet slice we couldn’t get enough of. Plus a cappuccino of course, just visible in the shot of me with my candle-lit purple hair, bottom right.
We returned to our room to find something better than the customary ‘chocolate turndown’ – instead, a mini bottle of Amarula cream and glass on our bedside tables. We promptly hopped into our gowns and slippers and enjoyed it while sitting on the couch in front of the fire, that had also been lit before our return. Truly delightful!
Yip, you guessed it. Another of of my favourite winter creature comforts is fire. There are fireplaces everywhere at Angala, each with piles of wood stacked nearby and adding a natural warmth and happy glow to your stay.
Tuesday, 11, July 2017: Outdoor showers and breakfast at Angala
More focus on water with the simply stunning baths and outdoor showers. Husband was brave enough to give the outdoor shower a brisk go, but we didn’t run a bath as water’s so scarce in the Cape at the moment. Just imagine a soak with those gorgeous views though…
Breakfast is included in the overnight rates at Angala, so we took full advantage, ordering the Angala Rarebit off the hot menu and also plating up from the continental buffet offering. Lip-smackingly good.
Before we knew it, the time had come to check out and make our way back home, much more relaxed and peaceful than when we’d set out. So much so that I was told I looked ‘so serene’ when I returned to the office on Wednesday. We’ll definitely visit Angala again!
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals and accommodation at Angala were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally. Click here for my official review on Biz!
The simple answer? Stay at Abalone House and dine at Reuben’s, of course. That’s just what we did last weekend…
Saturday, 10 June 2017: A night at Paternoster’s Abalone House, with dinner at Reuben’s
We reassured the doggies that we’d be back in 24 hours and that they’d be in good hands with their uncle Spec, then off we went!
Rainy road trip! It’s comforting knowing there’s a luxurious destination at the end of the road. Also see my takeaway Wimpy coffee, a road trip essential.
Destination Paternoster! Less than two hours since setting off from home, including a few stops along the way for snacks and scenery snaps, we’d reached the sleepy town.
Some of the pretty things you’ll see in Paternoster – sea views from almost anywhere, whitewashed houses, the striking ‘see kat’ statue, and helpful sign boards to almost any destination.
Winding through the streets of Paternoster we soon found our lovely location for the night – five-star boutique hotel, Abalone House. See some of the sweet kitties that roam the premises, an abandoned boat and the inviting but absolutely off-limits cold pool in the wintery rain. We’re desperate to return on a warmer day and try it!
Abalone House is extremely warm and welcoming in winter, partly due to the old-fashioned charm, partly due to the blazing fireplaces dotted around the main property. We learned from the general manager that the outside sitting area you see bottom right will soon have glass sliding doors instead of these tarps, ensuring the weather stays out in winter and that you can let the sun shine in during the warmer months by just folding them away. We’ll have to return to report back on that, too!
Tretchikoff ladies everywhere! On the cushions in Reuben’s, on the wall in our lounge, in our bathroom, and on a stack of cushions in the library.
Pretty patio set, inviting bed, underfloor heating beneath soft carpets and loungers beside the Jacuzzi on the roof – we braved it for a good 40 minutes or so after dinner.
Our room at Abalone House was a real sight for sore eyes. Instant stress relief. Soon after check-in there was a knock at the door and we were presented with flutes of welcome bubbly and assorted warm canapes. The decor was bright, warm and just what we needed.
Here is Husband gazing at the gorgeous stormy seascape. Once settled in our room we had a warm, cosy nap and listened to the soothing sounds of the rain outside. The sound of birdies chirping alerted us to the fact that the rain had stopped and we could safely venture out to explore the beach.
What a wonderful beach. We saw a few couples heading that way once they realised the rain had eased off, and watched the stunning sunset.
Various things on the otherwise deserted Paternoster beach – me, swirls of foam, and Husband as the sun set.
Many know Paternoster’s Abalone House as it’s the setting for local foodie favourite Reuben Riffel’s Reuben’s – and boy, did we eat well!
Our dinner drinks at Reuben’s – a glass of Merlot and an ice-creamy strawberry shake (not on the menu, but just ask).
See my spicy tomato ragout meatballs with Melba toast-style health bread, amuse bouche of pulled pork from two angles and my lemon cheesecake with mint sorbet, berry coulis and Terbodore cappuccino.
More food – Husband’s ‘mushrooms on mash’ starter with mustard drizzle, his braised lamb shank, my pork belly ribs and the malva pudding dessert with granadilla sorbet. Watch for my review on Biz soon, for all the descriptive words!
Ahh. My ultimate sign of ‘quality place to stay’ is if there are fluffy white terrycloth gowns to prance around in once evening hits. That’s just what we did, as you can see from these numerous shots – we even had matching bedside slippers!
Sunday, 11 June 2017: Breakfast at Reuben’s, sightseeing at Saldanha Bay
Ordering a hot breakfast like the eggs benedict or full English means you can also have your fill of the continental buffet – one of the most varied and value-packed I’ve seen! As we were the first eager beavers to arrive, we got to take the prime table at the bay window with a view towards the sea. Just heavenly.
We’d seen the big anchor on our way into town the day before but didn’t stop as it was raining. We stopped on our way out so Husband could pose for a variety of photos, from polite tourist the ‘this is my wrecking ball’ swing. Teehee!
Having seen a field of wind turbines in the distance we took a slight detour off the tarred road home onto a dirt road to take a closer look. They’re really quite majestic and awe-inspiring up close as they whoosh methodically overhead.
We also visited the Saldanha harbour on our way home. The wind was picking up by then and rain started up again so we only took a few snaps – Husband was fascinated by the mix of sea-ready boats and shipwrecks.
That’s all, folks! One of the most beautiful places we’ve reviewed, we’re sure to return and hope you’ll venture out that way, too – you won’t be disappointed.
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Reuben’s and accommodation at Abalone House were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
last update I was a little vague about just how we’d be unravelling our city-stress knots and niggles, now all can be revealed: I’d been invited to review* the oh-so-magical Majeka House in Stellenbosch for a few days. See just some of the best things we did below and click here for my official review, as the professional pics do a much better job than ours from our phones below…
There’s nothing better than that feeling of excitement when you’re about to set off on a road trip – even if it’s just a hop, skip and jump away. Always start your journey with pics of the road ahead and any pretty scenery to rub in the fact that you’re getting away from it all. Take this pic, for example. Road ahead, check. Pretty scenery, check. Excited to see more, check.
Sometimes the sights you see are so strange you’d think you were dreaming if you hadn’t snapped a photo. These scarecrow puppet people are at the Polkadraai farm stall and strawberry picking point about half-an-hour from home.
Those puppets are just to the left of where this shot was taken. Another road trip tip is to definitely stop when you see one of these yellow Nat Geo frames and take a photo no matter what the view.
Feel free to stop and try the local fare before you reach your final destination. This is Husband trying a Black Label draught at Hudson’s on Dorp Straat in Stellenbosch. Just as good as a draught at any other pub, and the cheese burger and chips we shared were just as good as any of the other Hudson’s meals we’ve had. It was so very windy that things were blowing off the tables and everyone else was choosing to sit indoors, but we couldn’t resist the pretty tree-lined street for a spot of people-watching.
In and around your room
Of course each form of accommodation differs, even each room at each venue will have its individual quirks. At Majeka House this included an honesty bar system in the kitchen corner, with a fully stocked fridge (don’t touch the R700 mini bottle of champers, whatever you do)! All these lovely treats were individually priced, apart from the complimentary coffee pods with complementary fresh chewy peanut butter cookies. Don’t worry, there were no crumbs in/on the bed for our room fairy to take care of as we ate them standing.
Look around your room very very carefully, as there may well be hidden features. Following our spa sessions we showered then trotted around in the bunny-soft robes in the room – and on sitting on the bed noted the landscape painting mounted above our heads.
You may notice other interesting room/suite features on your third or fourth lap. For instance, look at the suspended TV in the pic on the left, and the similarly inbuilt painting in the pic on the right. It’s the front and back of a swivel, so if you’d rather watch TV in the lounge you just give it a slight nudge and hey presto, the painting faces the bedroom and you’re ready to channel hop!
This was the view from our rooftop balcony. Lots of soothing colours for the eye, as well as pleasing mountain shapes to rest on.
If you’ve brought reading material with you, be sure to try out each possible reading point. For me this included various chairs on the two patios, our all-too-comfy bed and a number of couches and cushions in the lounge before I settled on this corner, complete with soft blanket to buffer against the wintery wind outdoors.
Snap the sunset from as many view points as possible. Or just over the course of a few minutes from the same spot. This is the setting sun from our bedroom balcony…
The same scene just five minutes later – all yellowy and happy-making.
Of course you can’t stay cooped up in your room the whole time and need to explore the grounds. What delightful grounds these are in Stellenbosch, with all sorts of hidden lighting cleverly highlighting features you’d otherwise miss in the daylight.
The spas and watery things
Following a back-relaxing hour-long couple’s massage all you want to do is close your eyes and think happy thoughts. Here is Husband, having a soak/pummel in the viciously strong Jacuzzi – so much so that the bubbles almost overflowed into the adjoining pool. No bubble bath required!
As we’re both Aquarians we could easily spend all our free time in water and be happy chappies. So of course I did the exact same thing as Husband. Note lovely landscape on the wall behind me, as well as doors off to the sauna and steam room – yes, they’re different things.
Here is Husband, stoking the steam in the steam room by topping up with hissing water over the aromatic logs every few minutes. As it was set to 70’C we didn’t stay in there for long.
At night, the chandelier-style lights lit up the spa and pool area in the most magical way. We’d been encouraged to have a swim or soak after dinner – all you do is swipe your room card to access the main hotel section, even after staff have locked up for the night. As appealing as the thought was, we didn’t follow through. Here’s why…
The fancy (filling) dinners
If it’s not quite dinner time, it’s surely time for a pre- (or post-) meal drink. We sampled two of the fancy cocktails at the blue-lit M Lounge – I went for the espresso martini, Husband had the Long Island Ice Tea. Both expertly made and just the right thing to sip at the fireside.
This is the fireplace beside which those cocktails were sipped. Note those walls of books are not real – that’s a special wallpaper that almost everyone who entered the bar when we were there went up very close to examine.
If you’ve booked the three-course dinner at Makaron, Majeka’s in-house award-winning restaurant, don’t by any means fall for the idea that you’re only getting three plates of food. For example, soon after being seated you’ll likely be offered complimentary still or sparkling water and a breadboard filled with the freshest, fanciest bites with touches of onion and cinnamon where you’d least expect.
Once your wine is served, be sure to swirl it around a little in your glass to release the flavour, as Husband did with his. He made it last throughout the bread, amuse bouche, starter and main course, only opting for something different with his dessert. But more on that later…
See a sample of the things you’ll eat at Makaron. Top left is our saffron-infused amuse bouche. Top right is Husband’s prawn linguini starter, bottom left is my ‘rainbow beets with goat’s cheese chantilly’ starter, and bottom right is my steak with herb gnocchi mains. All part of just one meal. Plan ahead and go on an empty stomach!
When ordering dessert, be wary of ones with bits you’re not sure of. While my vanilla creme brulee was large, light and lip-smackingly good, with perfectly brittle sesame tulle on top, the exotic-sounding ‘yuzu’ was just that – exotic and a little too sharp on the tongue. Don’t be afraid to ask for your waiter’s recommendation.
Because our waiter recommended the caramel bar for Husband’s dessert, which was hands down the best thing we ate in Stellenbosch – and we ate a great deal of delightful meals! This may look small but was as caramelly, chocolately and ice-creamy as possible, with warm brown melty flavours and a dainty little coffee macaron on top – alas Husband popped the whole thing in his mouth before I could have a taste. Sad face. I’d go back just to try that mysterious macaron!
The sweet dessert called for something a little sweeter gliding down the throat, like a tot of KWV 5-year-old.
The breakfast choices
The breakfast buffet is eye-poppingly comprehensive, but don’t fill up before your hot meal arrives or you may not have enough space for it. Rather copy me and order a cappuccino, then pour a berry smoothie and mix all manner of muesli, nuts, yoghurt and berry coulis in a bowl to slowly munch through before your eggs benedict or bacon-filled French toast arrives.
Or copy Husband and fill a side plate with flaky croissant, selection of meats and cheeses and pepper to your liking. I repeat, do not overeat, especially on a Sunday. You’ll see why soon.
This is what said French toast and eggs royale looked like. Amazing and so filling. Especially if you have an adventurious day ahead…
The outdoor hikes
Just 5 minutes up the road from Majeka House is the entrance to Paradyskloof nature reserve. Do yourself a favour and go for a brisk trot or even a cycle if you’ve packed along your bike. There are no steep uphills and lots of shady bits to pause and catch your breath or admire the view – or both.
Of course you’ll take a selfie while you’re on your walk, as we did. This was the best option of the six we attempted, promise. 😉
The Sunday morning markets
Goodness me but you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Sunday morning markets in the Stellenbosch area. Our first stop was at the Blauwklippen market, where you simply won’t know where to look as there are so many tasty delights on offer. Best you not have already filled up on breakfast. We did not know this so just looked and looked while our full-to-bursting bellies made regretful noises.
The main Blaauwklippen restaurant is exactly what you’d imagine a ‘Cape Dutch eatery’ to look like, with warm inviting interiors (we just peeped through the windows).
Of course you’ll wander a little off the beaten track while browsing the Blauuwklippen Market, as it’s set on such pretty grounds, with ducks floating on ponds and squirrels chasing each other all around the greenery.
And then we stopped at the Route 44 Market at Audacia. Even more food, crafts and soul-rejuvenating scenery to look at. This is the view from just one of many seating areas.
By then we’d walked up quite an appetite, and Husband simply plopped himself down on the beach bar stool (with real sand for your shoes to rest in) at the Mussel Monger and ordered himself a couple of oysters. They smelled like the cold sea and I’ll bet tasted like it, too.
And that, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll need to go back to Stellenbosch many, many more times to fully experience all it has to offer. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Majeka House and Spa, what a treat!
*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Majeka House and meals at Makaron were part of the review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally. Prices included in my official review.*
This week has been a super busy one, mainly because I’m on leave next week so had quite a bit of work to tick off my to-do list, then its Easter weekend and before you know it we’re in April! A quarter of the year gone! It’s hard to believe. Here are the past week’s highlights…
Saturday, 12 March 2016: Driftwood breakfast and parents airport pick-up
We woke early and dropped the car off at the nearest car wash then trotted across to the Driftwood Cafe. I had this pleasing cup of coffee as part of my R25 breakfast.
Husband buttering toast to go with his bigger-than-mine breakfast.
We’d been tracking the parents’ planes through an app on Husband’s phone so timed our arrival at the airport pretty well. This was their flight from Joburg taxiing along the runway…
We watched them disembark from the viewing deck before dashing down to the arrivals hall.
The doggies were very keen to see Granny and Grampa again, see their sad faces when I asked “Where’s Granny Grampa?”
Later that day we were at Tyger Valley Shopping Centre. I couldn’t help snapping a pic of this eye-catching window display at Identity.
Such a cute ‘hot-air balloon’. Husband snapped me sipping a McDonald’s caramel latte beside it. Yes that is Rey from Star Wars looking at it jealously over my shoulder and photobombing me.
Sunday, 13 March 2016: Breakfast at Rusty Oak Bistro
We read up on the Rusty Oak Bistro at Ruslamere through Zomato and decided to try them for breakfast. Husband opted for the hot buffet – and promptly toppled the pepper grinder onto his first plateful, teehee.
My rather large cappuccino, just delicious
I went for the waffle topped with berry and bacon bits – ahem, and got the double. And finished it all. Kept me full till we got to Mum’s for lupper that eve (note my fancy Roo shirt from the parents’ trip).
The pretty outdoor area at Ruslamere.
Much, much later, at Mum’s that eve we had raspberries with her homemade coffee icecream. Goodness me it was delicious. Washed down with a delightful pink wine.
Thursday, 17 March 2016: St Patrick’s Day work events and celebrations
I started my Thursday at an exclusive presentation at an agency walking distance from the office. Just love the multicoloured light-sabre type lights that hang from the reception area of the FCB/Hellocomputer building in Woodstock, and the little window near the ceiling. This picture does not do it justice.
Walking to the lift I saw this interesting wall art – which I later found out was printed by Husband! Tis a very small world.
There was time for a quick cup of coffee before the presentation began. Note my stripy pants did not match the stripy carpet.
Lots of pretty clouds about on my way to the bus stop after work that evening. There’s a definite chill in the air these days – the start of autumn so soon?
We were just too tired to head out anywhere after work for official celebrations, but Husband had a Guinness in St Paddy’s honour.
Friday, 18 March 2016: Fat Cactus farewell to Meg
My colleague Megan (two down from me in this pic, she was in most of my pics from last year’s Loeries blog post) is jetting off to teach English in Japan in a few weeks, and as most people are on leave next week we had a brief farewell at the Fat Cactus across the road from the office today. I was sat at the ‘espresso milkshake’ end of the table 🙂
The Milkshake Queen strikes again! These are the espresso shakes in question. |I almost had another.
That’s all, folks! I’m going to use the next few days to switch off, reset and recharge my batteries. Hope you have a wonderful long weekend!