A gorgeous find, in the Elgin valley, which took us into a straight into an 1800’s fiction novel with orchards and oaks as great as your imagination.
A gorgeous find, in the Elgin valley, which took us into a straight into an 1800’s fiction novel with orchards and oaks as great as your imagination.
My fiancé and I took a spontaneous weekend getaway to Hermanus recently and with whale season coming up, perhaps you need to do the same 🙂
Here’s the easiest way to have the best weekend, do what we did!
We easily booked into a lovely self catering cottage at Anchor’s Rest and used this as our base for exploration.
An adventure wouldn’t be an adventure if we didn’t start the day early and go for a long walk. There is a lovely cliff path starting in Walker Bay and is an easy and scenic 5km stroll/jog (with a slight detour along the road) to Voelklip, where you can reward yourself with breakfast and coffee.
Walker Bay Adventures offers daily sea kayaking trips from Walker Bay that I’d highly recommend. They’re easy kayaks and it is just another world once you get out there. Even if it’s not whale season, you’ll get to splash around with the penguins and seals and soak in your Vitamin Sea.
Treat yourself to a good home cooked farm-style breakfast at Die Plaaskombuis!
A little way out of Hermanus is a very special gem: Mosaic Private Sanctuary.
It’s well worth the visit, if only for this cheese platter from heaven (okay, it’s mostly cheeses from the local cheese farm, but that’s kind of the same thing!)
And once you’re done eating all the cheese, head just a little further out of Hermanus into Gansbaai. Drive straight down to the beach and have coffee and a sarmie with a view to die for at Coffee on the Rocks. Soak in the view, the sun and the whales in season!
You’re welcome 🙂
Cape Town’s market cup runneth over and it’s glorious! It’s always wonderful to explore a new market, especially when it’s one where you can feel its’ ‘heart’.
The Palms Market in Woodstock is a new addition to my favourites list of Cape Town market gems. With mostly food from local suppliers and held in The Palms Lifestyle and Decor Centre, it gives an old “Town Square” kind of feel and makes me want to bring my wicker basket to fill up with veggies. You know how I like the “old” stuff, so this one is right up my alley!
Think cheese, wine, olives, cakes, fresh produce, and sit down meals.
It’s a great option for Winter as it is indoors and there is underground parking for free. Every Saturday from 9am – 2.30pm.
Let’s just put it straight out there: if you’re a working mom at home, school holidays are your worst nightmare. Not because you can’t get any work done. Not because you feel guilty every time your kids want to spend time with you and you have to work instead. Not because you’re constantly distracted and the idea of playing in the pool instead of working sounds like heaven. Not because you feel like your brain is being pulled in 4 directions at once. Not because the days go by in a flash and then you feel like you’ve had 14 days in one. Not because you have moments when you want to run away or throw a child in the bin. Not because it’s over too soon and you forgot to have fun. It’s because of ALL of these things at once.
I recently babysat my brother’s kids for a week and agreed to this BEFORE I found out that they were on school holidays. It was too late to turn back and run for the hills. I’ve got this’, I said, ‘I’ve got this’.
And I did. I can’t say it was the easiest week of my life, but I GOT IT (perhaps the snap below doesn’t prove this point, but hear me out).
If you followed my “social experiment” of this week on Snapchat (find me as popcorncandi_za), you will have all the inside info, but for those who didn’t come along for the live ride, here’s the post-mortem of what I learnt from this process:
Their time to grow up is so short, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a big part of their lives (as much as I may or may not have wanted to strangle one or two of them at some point). I guess it’s all part of the adventure 😉
Ah, the quintessential “road trip”…
For me, road trips whilst growing up were not fun. We lived in Johannesburg and road tripped to family just outside of East London EVERY SINGLE school holiday. That’s roughly a 10 hour trip of being squashed between two siblings (with a dad who refused to stop unless it is a matter of life or death). It was painful.
It’s taken me about 20 years to come around to the idea that a road trip can be fun. Here’s what you need to ensure:
Here’s an account of the most wonderful adventure that changed my mind about road trips for good. I’ve laid out our route stop-by-stop, shown you some highlights and left some meaningful contacts here for you if you’re keen on doing the same sort of thing.
The first stop had to be Knysna, or rather, just outside Knysna along the “Rheenendal Ramble“.
I found an interesting looking place online called Peace of Eden, which offers tented accommodation in the forest. Tents, you ask?
It’s not camping, you don’t have to bring your own tent, but you sleep in an already set up tented “room” in the middle of the forest. Yes, that will do!
The balcony view was not bad at all…
The idea of shared outside showers and loos might put some people off, but it was not an issue at all and the sounds of the forest as you go to sleep is worth more than any en-suite, that’s for sure!
Comfort Level: Rustic
Just up the road from Peace of Eden is a glorious hidden gem. An unassuming sign for “pub food” took us past Portland Manor and we discovered the most beautiful old English-style manor house, with an 1800’s stone pub. We had just been transported back into another time in gloomy Britain and found ourselves ordering gin and tonics, asking if we could “use the croquet set please, old chap”. The property also boasts a dam for boating, skiing and cruising. Definitely worth a stay next time. Lucky find!
Vibe: English Country Manor
Our short visit to Jeffrey’s Bay gave us some insight into the beloved seaside surf haven. High season showed us the full extent of it’s offering and it’s a conglomerate of party, beach, surf, eat, chill and shop (even though the Billabong Factory no longer produces out of Jeffrey’s Bay, the factory shop and neighbouring factory shops do hold fantastic deals).
A more unique experience was a brief stay at Marina Martinique. This marina estate of waterways, bridges and luxury homes is a stone’s throw away from the festive season madness in J’Bay town.
Hire a house and stay for a few days – a morning, midday and evening dip in the marina is not overrated!
Vibe: Living on a freaking marina! Bring us a G&T please, darling.
Comfort: Luxury (dependent on the house/apartment you rent)
CINTSA, WILD COAST
On your way to the Wild Coast Jikeleza Route into Cintsa, stop off at the Friesland Milk Bar in East London for their legendary milkshakes. The Friesland Milk Bar has been there for as long as anyone can remember and churns out delicious milkshakes in these cute-as-a-baby-cow’s-nose milk bottles <3
You know you’re at the Wild Coast when… you’re dodging cows on the way to the beach. There is just something about this coast that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. It’s a coastline less travelled (and in going further up into the Transkei, it’s literally because it’s too difficult to travel on these roads) but well worth a visit.
This picture was taken on the way to Cefani river mouth, a more secluded beach with a beautiful river mouth for swimming, paddling, dunking the kids etc. (You can find it shortly after you turn of Schafli Road, as if you’re going into Cintsa East.)
The beaches along this coastline are just gorgeous, but you have to get there early in the morning before the wind picks up! This is Cintsa East Main beach, with gentle waves and plenty of rock pools to explore.
A must when you visit this side of the world is a horse ride on the beach with Cintsa Horses. They do basic beach rides for beginners or riders who know what they’re doing. It’s a few hours of beautiful scenery through the trees, dunes, rock pools and beach. What’s special about this operation is that it funds the New Hampshire Equine Rehabilitation Centre, who takes on and looks after horses in desperate need of care and homes. Horses working for their friends – it’s fantastic!
Cintsa has recently jumped onto the “Craft Beer Bandwagon” and opened up the first microbrewery in the area – Emerald Vale Brewery. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I did enjoy a glass or two. Be sure to book ahead in peak season – it gets completely booked up.
You’ll find this coastline perfect for fishing from the rocks and this particular bay below is one of the best surf spots in the area, just before you get to Cintsa along the Jikeleza route (Queensbury Point).
Tea in the Trees is a good spot for a relaxing breakfast and yes, that is an actual teapot in the tree. Cute.
Once a year, towards the end of December, the Chintsa Runners host a trail run through some of the neighbouring farms in Chintsa. This one was organised as 5km and 13 km routes, starting and ending at Tea in The Trees, with scenery to die for (side note: I did feel like dying, myself). All proceeds go to the Chintsa Runners from the local township to fund their races etc. A worthy cause, I reckon.
This was definitely one of my highlights. We decided to take the R62 from Jeffrey’s Bay back to Cape Town, for a change of scenery and an escape from the mad rush on the N2. What a fabulous idea. There are some really interesting places along this route and I’m sorry that we didn’t spend more time exploring it.
The Belfry Kitchen, Twee Riviere
This hidden gem is REALLY hidden. There are no signs from the main road – word of mouth is mainly what brings customers to The Belfry Kitchen in Twee Riviere. It’s a cafe and bakery in the town’s old post office, which still operates as a post office today (over the deli counter). They accept bartering as a form of payment and relies solely on its own vegetable gardens, poultry run, orchards, livestock, purpose-run dairy operations and so forth, to produce the ingredients for its menu items and groceries range. It’s peculiarity is intriguing – you must stop past there and at least have their R29 cheese platter (that is not a typo – everything is more than half the price of general retail prices).
In a 1984 Reader’s Digest on the bookshelf:
It hit well over 43’C en route through Oudtshoorn. There is no escaping that heat, except in the aircon of your car.
Ronnie’s Sex Shop
Just outside of Barrydale, you’ll pass Ronnie’s Sex Shop. Rumour has it that Ronnie painted the name “Ronnie’s Shop” on this cottage next to the R62, planning to open a farm stall. His friends played a prank on him and added “Sex”. It was a laugh and ended up turning the building into a tourist stop and bar.
This fool parked in front of the legendary sign – what kind of monster is this?!
Barrydale is gorgeous. From the East Coast side of the R62, you enter in through the Tradouw valley, which is quite the scene. On the other end, you exit into the semi-arid Klein Karoo. It’s incredibly interesting!
In between, you find quirky places like Diesel & Creme. You can spend hours there just looking through all the novelties and decor, before even ordering your coffee and food. It feels like another world – perhaps it is?
Karoo Saloon sits on the Klein Karoo side of Barrydale and is a stop-over setup, saloon-style. The heat of the day catches up and settles quietly into the vast sunset here.
Vibe: Beer, darts and sitting
Comfort: Basic of basics. Bring mozzie spray!
Why end the trip already? Head a little bit further, past Citrusdal to Clanwilliam Dam, if you’re into water sports and have access to a boat. It’s necessary.
Vibe: Sun and Ski
Comfort: Ranges, depending on what kind of house you rent. Be sure to check for working aircon!
Go, baby, go go! I’m bringing road trips back into fashion. Amen.
So I’m back into running (slow jogging) again! It’s been a long journey of years of back issues, but I’m just going ahead and doing it (slowly and carefully) because life is too short to miss out on doing the things that you love.
So that means… it’s time to ditch the old, falling apart takkies and invest in a decent pair of running shoes.
Run on Bree street is a new specialist running shoe store and they painstakingly took the time to measure my feet, assess my running style and brought out the whole store room of options for me to try and try and try again. As a non-runner, I thought I’d be a bit intimidated going to a specialist store like that, but it was relaxed and the staff were so helpful. I walked out with literally the perfect pair of running shoes for my feet, I’m sure!
I can’t wait to try these babies out, thanks to these guys for doing such a professional and patient job with me, I really appreciate it!
Just because holiday season is over and your bank accounts are somewhat smaller, doesn’t mean that you have to wind down on the fun factor.
If you haven’t already heard about The Entertainer App, you can thank me in the comments below. It’s a mobile app that you buy for the year that provides thousands of “Buy one get one free” offers. There are no catches, no hassles and you can find an offer or few wherever you are. What is even more exciting for me is that they have added offers for hotels throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia & Indian Ocean as well as North America!
SHUT UP, ENTERTAINER.
The Cape Town 2016 app includes over 1,540 offers for the best restaurants, bars, informal dining, attractions, leisure activities, spas, salons etc. Want to learn to kite surf? Buy one lesson, get one free. Wine tasting? Buy one get one free. B&B in Paternoster? Buy one night, get one free. Apps are available for Johannesburg & Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
It’s a no-brainer.
Here’s the clincher: Use my promo code popcorncandi and receive 10% off your purchase price of the 2016 app. (The full price is R495). Simply download the app from your app store and use the promo code.
*Discount is valid for purchases until 30 April 2016.
Don’t get the wrong idea here, I don’t “bant” (is that even a word?). I don’t believe in the banting diet nor am I a Noakes groupie. I do, however, love the idea of crackers that don’t contribute too much to the waistline (it’s struggling enough to compete with the starving tourists on Clifton beach as it is) and increase my seed intake.
250 ml sesame seeds
250 ml linseed/ flax seed
250 ml sunflower seeds
150 ml pumpkin seeds
2 to 4 tbsp Psyllium husk
500 ml water
5 ml salt
Combine all the ingredients, starting with seeds, salt, water, and 2 tbsp of psyllium husk. Mix well. The consistency you’re looking for is a paste. If it is still too soggy then add another tbsp of psyllium husk, but don’t overdo it. Leave it to rest for about 15 minutes or so. Set the oven to 160*C.
When the past is ready, spread it on your baking sheet. The important thing is to get it as even as possible and there should be ABSOLUTELY NO HOLES. Pop in the oven for approximately 60 minutes, or until lightly browned (not singed, burned, or blackened). It depends on your oven, so please do keep an eye on it. Oh, and don’t try to put more than one batch in the oven unless your oven can actually do that.
I left it to cool for a minute or two and then lightly cut lines into the sheet of cracker so that it breaks off easily once completely cooled down.
Here’s my stash…
All ready for an after-work beach picnic later. Rad.