This past weekend we were in Franschhoek as you’ll see from the snaps below – it was so difficult to trim them down to these favourites!
If you’re heading that way, we definitely recommend stopping in at the Wijnland Auto Museum and Butterfly World, and explore the lovely lemony Franschhoek Country House (FCH) and Monneaux…
Wednesday, 16 May 2018: Sunset dins at Doodles on the beachfront
We had a sneaky mid-week dinner out at Doodles and were in awe at the sunset, as seen from various angles.
Friday, 18 May 2018: Meltwater #BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson
I rarely get to attend events with colleagues, so it was a treat to spend part of last Friday morning with one of my favourite coworkers. Once we’d gone up 10 floors by lift at the Park Inn Radisson we stepped onto the balcony to admire the view, and what a view it was!
More of the balcony views, also the delicious breakfast snacks and the excellent presentation itself on social storytelling – click here for my full overview if you missed it on Bizcommunity.
We had time for a quick post-event catch-up session with industry friends before heading back to the office.
Saturday, 19 May 2018: Stop at Wijnland Auto Museum, stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux
A sweet moment with Bertie boy before we started all our weekend activities. Love that dog!
First stop – collect parents to drop off at the airport. Once they’d checked in for their flight to Joburg, we had time for a quick breakfast at the Wimpy with views of the runway. See various coffees and the flapjacks with cream and fruit salad.
Next, tim for our weekend away, and what’s a road trip without snacks? It was a cold, grey day so hot drinks were in order. This is a mochaccino and British ‘chocky bickies’ from when we dropped off the doglets at their GrannyGrampa for the night.
We stopped in at the Wijnland Auto Museum (not the main Franschhoek Motor museum you’re thinking of). It’s filled with rusted relics and shiny new vehicles alike. Bonus: You don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time!
The grounded airplane was the main attraction for Husband – he’d seen it from the main road outside and we had to do a capital U-turn to go back and find the entrance. See how he climbed all the way through into the cockpit – you’re allowed to do so.
Autumnal scenes on the road into Franschhoek town.
You’re bound to see the wine tram when you’re in and around Franschhoek. We saw various versions of it in various locations on our way into town and even waved at the happy travelers from the pool later that evening. It’s still on our Franschhoek bucket list!
It was the weekend of the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) so there were book-lovers around every drizzly corner and queues at all the eateries and markets, we felt quite lucky to be staying slightly out of the main hustle and bustle of town. Will tackle the FLF another time!
Franschhoek Country House holds all the lemons and French country charm you could ever want. It’s like a painting.
It’s hard to miss Franschhoek Country House from the Huguenot Main Road, just look for lemon with touches of turquoise and you’re there! There are lemons everywhere you look, from the trees to bowls in every room – even the restaurant powder room – it’s really a delicious sight.
The space we stayed in was just gorgeous. Look at those old-school high ceilings, the plentiful fruit bowl, and even the candlesticks next to the not-to-be-used bath tub.
The doorbell chimed and we were presented with the most wonderful welcome plate of food fresh from Monneaux, along with flutes of bubbly to ease into ‘weekend away’ mode. It certainly did the trick!
Fountains fountains everywhere. Note Husband examining them far off in the distance.
Despite the chill in the air we braved the cold pool, as that makes the slightly heated pool seem a little warmer than it is. Also see the poolside table with the most delicious lemonade, garnished with mint leaves and cucumber slices. So yum!
We’d been told it was ‘happy hour’ on selected beverages until 5pm – add in pretzels and salty peanuts, also the Royal Wedding on TV and we were there like bears.
Sunset over the mountain from various angles, made even more delicious with a cup of coffee and rusk from our room.
M is for Monneaux! The on-site restaurant is definitely worth a visit, whether you’re staying at Franschhoek Country House or further up the road. See here the baked camembert salad, the spicy mussels and the lamb on gnocchi. All the words coming to my full review on Bizcommunity!
Cheers to dinner at Monneaux! Our table was strewn with white rose petals – we’d seen them being plucked while enjoying our swim earlier that evening. Also see the smoked octopus in dashi stock from the Petit Assiette menu, and the linefish mains topped with a prawn.
Don’t mind if I do take a sip or two… just some of the lovely wines we sampled while dining at Monneaux, all from the Franschhoek valley.
Dessert! See the sorbets with meringue discs; chef’s creme caramel with flecks of vanilla; a delicious cappuccino; the apple tart tatin with blue cheese compote; and the end-of-meal dense chocolate truffles.
The little nighttime luxuries at Franschhoek Country House are so sweet. These range from the ‘I need some me time’ message on the door hanger to a tiny chocolate left on the pillow with the next day’s weather forecast; and slippers left at the turned-down bed. Of course, we also lit the fire and spent a while in front of its warmth – though there’s also underfloor heating, so you may well find yourself sitting on the floor (out of choice)!
This is the selection of ‘gownie shots’ I have to work with. Not easy to come by as gowns are only available by special request from reception, and by the time we took the snaps Husband was done with posing nicely and smiling on demand. Lol!
Sunday, 20 May 2018: FCH breakfast buffet; visit the animals at Butterfly World
Taking in that ‘just been rained on’ view with a quick coffee brewed in the room before heading down for breakfast.
What a breakfast spread! See various cold meats and cheeses, freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, and cereals – I couldn’t resist a scoop of the bright pink Strawberry Pops!
From the hot breakfast menu, we opted for filter coffee and the waffle with bananas, bacon and berries (me); and glasses of juice with the eggs benedict, topped with both spinach and folded ham (husband). Also, look at the tiny bite-size croissant!
Taking a slow stroll back to our room. Note Husband is in long pants and covered shoes during the day here, a rare sighting that tells you it was pretty darn chilly.
Once we’d checked out, we couldn’t resist this road that whispered, “Follow me…”
We made what we thought would be a quick detour to see the Butterfly World tropical garden, but there’s so much more than that on the grounds that we stayed a good two hours. See Husband enjoying a plate of curry and rice while it drizzled.
There’s lots of lush greenery and birdies flitting around along with the butterflies. Also, many interesting take-away trinkets to look at.
We braved the rain (there are clear umbrellas to collect before stepping outside) and you can just see the butterflies drying out.
While the butterflies were lovely, they flitted around so fast we couldn’t take any pics. There are so many sweet rescued animals all around though that before you realise it, you’ve spent hours wandering around in awe at nature.
Look at the little critters! Some were friendly, some were shy, all were precious. We have a video of the birdie scratching it’s way over Husband’s arm and then leaping scarily at my shiny phone.
That’s all, folks! Hope you have a relaxing weekend. Cheers!
*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Franschhoek Country House and Monneaux were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
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.
In this latest update we finally get to my pics from Design Indaba, which began on the same day as
Bertie’s birthday and took us to the end of last week.
There’s lots to look at below, so get your scrolling (and enlarging) fingers ready!
Wednesday, 1 to Friday, 3 March 2017: Design Indaba at the Artscape
There was just as much to see inside, with a Woolies coffee station that made delicious honey-nut lattes, food trucks, art installations, book passageways and more. Always a delight and more than a little overwhelming!
Lots of creative oddities were on display before we even went into the main Artscape venue. Note the walk of fame, trees growing lips and eyes and more.
If you’re wondering about our team, that’s a full shot below with me and Ilse from the first day on the top left, and me with Pasqua on the last day top right.
Design Indaba done for me and Husband having rested all day from his week of working night shift, we decided on dins at Doodles on the beachfront. I tried their Bar-One shake and Husband had a draught with the chicken burger.
Saturday, 4 March 2017: Xai xai chicken at Petiscos
When Husband got home from work we set off for Petisco’s for their xai xai chicken fillet, which we barely finished. I also tried their iced mocha shake.
Sunday, 5 March 2017: Rocomamas ‘surprise me’ freak shake, Sunset Beach jumps and Bertie’s new collar
Rocomama’s is always a treat, especially if you’re brave enough to try the ‘Surprise me’ freak shake option. I ended up with a caramel-chocolate concoction bursting with bits of honeycomb! Click here for a reminder of our review on our last visit.
What do you do on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Cape Town? You see who can jump higher on the beach, of course. We headed off to Sunset Beach as it has a lovely view of the mountain and soft, soft sand for jumping. Here is Husband’s attempt…
I think mine was much, much higher (Husband says to notice his eyes are over the top of the mountain in his version, but also note how much taller he is than me!)
On Sunday afternoon we explored the new ‘Leadville’ doggy park in Sunningdale and Bertie was gifted with his new birthday collar – look at that happy grin!
Wednesday 8 March 2017: Woodstock sunrise
I snapped the sun rising over the mountain and train tracks on my way into work on Wednesday, and needed a ‘coffee and mini choc’ treat come afternoon. What a long week!
Thursday, 9 March 2017: FoodLover’s breakfast and Catharina’s new lunch menu review
We both had the day off work on Thursday (yay), so after a much-needed lie-in we shared the halloumi stack breakfast at our nearest FoodLover’s Market. That’s also my cappuccino top left.
After some general relaxing it was time to set off Catharina’s at Steenberg Estate, as we’d been invited to review their new lunch menu. We’ve taken a variation of this photo on both previous visits, see here and here.
Beautiful purple blooms at Steenberg Estate.
Presenting Catharina’s and the rest of the Steenberg Estate. Tis a wonderful place to walk around, with ducks and squirrels hopping about – you may see some in these pics!
If you look closely you’ll see a squirrel atop one of those wooden chair backs.
Husband sampling the Semillon.
The official menu, with the story of Steenberg’s Catharina Ras. Also the bread board with golf balls of butter, the mushroom-parmesan risotto and the seafood linguini. Yum!
The chicken confit Caesar salad, with croutons, parmesan and bacon.
The 200g blackened sirloin with hand-cut chips.
Behold the new lunch menu, the chocolate shake and cappuccino, the chicken confit Caesar salad, the rooibos creme brulee and the summer sorbet trio with wafer ‘spoon’.
This squirrel sat on his tree perch and watched us eat our meal.
That’s all, folks! You can read up on this year’s Design Indaba highlights in our
special section on Biz, and click here for my official review of the new lunch menu at Catharina’s!
*Disclaimer: Obviously our meals at Catharina’s were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.