Friday, 29 April 2011


I was on the right path...

Most of you, dear friends, will know that I'm not really a 'spa' kind of girl. My 3 month old birthday gift voucher was about to expire and all I felt was a nervous inertia. I've never been to a spa in all my 46, oops, 47 years, and quite frankly, the idea was anything but relaxing-  What was an ozone bath? Will the masseuse think I'm rude if I don't chit-chat? What should I wear? and more to the point, What should I NOT wear?!! 

I gained courage approaching Constantia Uitsig Spa, row upon row of colourful vineyards, beautiful rustic outbuildings. Turning the corner, right in front of me, a storybook picture- endless lush meadows, huge old trees, contented horses grazing, I was surrounded by rural serenity.

Rural bliss!

Silly me, I needn't have worried, the friendliest staff met me at the door, reassured me and explained all, (just in case you were also wondering-  leave ALL your clothes in your locker and emerge in just your fluffy gown and slippers- phew!) Onto the Ozone bath- the mood is set with large mirrors reflecting warm flickering candlelight, the bath a delicious frenzy of ozone bubbles and fragrant bath bubbles, Mmmm, bliss!
A tip- if you want to try those gorgeous products perched on the side of the bath, bring your reading glasses- It was luck that I chose the Clarins facemask for my face! Which, by the way, was fantastic- my face is still glowing...

Could have spent the day in this gorgeous room

The Swedish massage was heaven, a little dynamo of a masseuse worked me over, like a pro. I was cocooned, warm and cozy, slowly drifting to Nirvana. Two indulgent hours later, I floated out, light as a feather with a spring in my step, the fragrant, lush, heady scents of Charlotte Rhys products trailing in my wake.
James Brown put it best- " Whao- I feel nice, like sugar and spice now....'

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


I confess I turned a blind eye- their delight in finding the veggie garden was a joy to watch

Peter Rabbit was one of the children's favourite books when they were small, we all cheered for naughty little Peter as he escaped the clutches of the nasty farmer and hid from his equally terrifying cat, after all, he just wanted a tasty treat from the veggie garden, well...
You've guessed it...... my gentle husband is fast turning into farmer McGregor with Rabbit stew on his mind- something had to be done, first we tried securing the veggie gardens- no luck, turns out bunnies are quite resourceful and persistent. Barrel planting was our solution.....

Watercress and mixed lettuces

We purchased several wine barrel halves from Gerald who was hawking them in our area, all genuine with the heady smell of  years of aging red wines. Then came a delightful surprise- look what we found underneath!

Not easy releasing the bottom from the barrel

A 'boer maak a plan' - there would be no holes drilled in my new cheese board! Poor Fanie had to carefully and not very easily, cut away the entire bottom of the barrel to preserve our new treasure.

I now have 3 beautiful oak bread boards- but only 1 with the french oak stamp

A word of warning....removing the bottom of the barrel invites those pesky little moles to take up residence in your cosy barrels, so secure bottom with chicken wire. Also, we have since discovered that bunnies can jump very high..... oh dear!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Lonesome Dave Ferguson and his harp

Friday found us on the roof of the Granddaddy Hotel, crowded between the silver airstreams, swinging and cheering for Dave Ferguson. It was his last performance after many sultry friday nights in this unique setting.  He 'wowed' us! Played 'White girl' tighter and more complex than we've ever heard, with a marathon finish, happily, faan recorded it, we'll upload it soon, so everyone can enjoy.
I heard Dave is off to Italy.......'La Dolce Vita' Dave- we'll miss you.....

Saturday was perfect for an impromptu lunch party- all great friends we hadn't seen in awhile, bless them for  coming at such short notice. We caught the last warming autumn sunshine, ate, drank, played a bit more boules..... I know, but it's such fun and everyone can throw a ball, although on this occasion, Bruce 'out threw' the rest of us! Some stayed until the fires that were lit, were spent...

My boot-sale find- the perfect ice bowl

Sunny yellow roses that blossomed in the natural light

Full table of  good friends
Last men standing!

The rest of the weekend was spent 'lying-low'  with a few books -my bedside table piled high with Ferrero Roche, that the generous Easter bunny brought me... a different kind of  'la dolce vita' .

Thursday, 21 April 2011


A very sexy salad

It all started with the luscious ripe black figs I found at the Alphen..... they certainly didn't need to sell themselves, but the rest of the ingredients would have to be equally sexy.
Start with adding paper thin slices of Italian Coppa ham and then for some extra salty creaminess add crumbles of your favourite blue cheese, toss rocket and baby greens plucked from your garden, finish off with a drizzle of your best olive oil and balsamic - too deliciously decadent to resist!
But, if you can hold out a few hours, you won't be sorry-   add slow roasted leg of free-range lamb....

What can I say- also very sexy!

I love Robert Carrier's way with lamb- take a sharp knife and make a few incisions in the leg, then stuff each incision with some garlic, a bit of anchovy and a sprig of rosemary, don't worry if you're not fond of anchovy, it melts as the lamb roasts to add a delicate saltiness to the leg- if you don't tell anyone there's anchovy in it, they won't know!
In our house we seldom have roast lamb without roasted potatoes-

For extra crunchiness, par boil and handle roughly before roasting

Now be nice, and share your delicious food with friends. We invited ours over for a long languid lunch and a few not very accurate games of boules.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Cute little crocodile!

Yep- you see it for yourself, crocodile cream and no, its not for the crocodile, its for you and me, a 'cure-all' cream made from crocodile, I know.....quickly grabbed the packaging to find out exactly what part of the crocodile is used and was hoping to read something along the lines of  'no crocodiles were harmed in the process', but I imagine its quite difficult to get a crocodile to willingly give you his oil.
Did a bit of  'googling' and apparently it was all Cleopatra's idea, so I surrendered and smeared a tiny dab on a pesky little wart on my hand and yes, it did actually fall off 2 days later, but as my friend said, maybe that was because it was full moon!

Sunday, 17 April 2011


 You won't find a more picturesque boot sale


Spent a dreamy morning, rummaging at our local boot sale........ I'm slightly reluctant to tell you where, already spotted Braam and Giles finishing their shoppping whilst I had only just arrived! But, keep reading, I'm not good with this kind of secret.....
I'm happily a lone-shopper, but today discovered that more than one pair of eyes is advantageous, the three of us came home with quite an eclectic selection-

Most pleased with my gold silk skirt from Italy  and gorgeous retro tablecloth that came with 6 napkins, all for R25

 It's a true boot sale that has been growing steadily over the recent months, in summer you can take a breather under the shady trees to 'take stock' and see exactly how you spent all your money. In winter grab your wellies and stomp your way through the paddocks.

What an expression on the poor little chap!

Love the knitted sailor girl

This particular Saturday there was an equestrian boot sale next door- all that leather, those tweed riding jackets and don't even get me started on the riding boots next door, all I needed was a horse......

If only I had a horse

Just promise to get there after 9 am, so I have a chance at some of those bargains- The SARDA boot sale every 3rd Saturday, Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia - plus, you'll be supporting a great cause.

Friday, 15 April 2011


Nil per os III

This exquisite piece is from Barbara Wildenboer's exhibition at Heidi Erdmann's gallery, beautifully named-
Library of the infinitesimally small and the unimaginably large
I was mesmerized by the intricate paper construction unfolding from these medical textbooks. It's the artists second exhibition at  Erdmann Contemporary and you can still catch it until 21 May.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


One pot free-range roasted chicken   

What to eat when there's no time to cook, but the craving for good old-fashioned soul food is stirring deep inside your belly?
Grab a family sized  free-range chicken  to fill your roasting dish,  throw in some of  your pantry basics-  onions wedges, baby potatoes and whole chunky carrots, top with a few generous 'glugs' of olive oil, a bit of water and a splash of whatever wine is open, next, a quick foraging amongst your herbs.
I chose majoram, origanum and thyme- I know....I was enjoying the harvesting so much, had to stop myself from throwing in the rest of the herb garden!
Don't forget to season-  crunchy Himalayan salt and ground pepper and if  you have some time to spare, smear a few tablespoons of butter under the skin of the breasts along with some of those herbs, you'll be so pleased you did- yum.
When the smell from the roast has permeated your whole house and is gently wafting  into the garden, throw in a handful or two of baby tomatoes, we have a glut of  the pretty orange baby tomatoes- so sweet and syrupy after 15 minutes of roasting.
A toast to the humble dish of roasted chicken- salute!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Hot Sicilian musician Fab Samperi has just realeased his first full album- Power Bossa- eclectic mix of rhythm & blues, latin, hip-hop and soul- including  'In the River ' above.... I promise it'll kick start your day -just right!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Take route 62, don't  rush- just cruise... a gentle meander through Worcester, Robertson, Montagu and finally Barrydale, take a right towards the main road and there she is....

The Majestic Barrydale Hotel
This is most certainly the longest we've ever driven for a dinner party, but the occasion merits it, we're celebrating! Our good friends just became the brand new proprietors of this gorgeous old Hotel- Theo and Tracy, who seem to fall graciously, generously and effortlessly into their new roles.

Theo Nel and Tracy Goosen- aka the renaissance couple

As we enter, my 11 year old says with delight what we are all thinking, ''s a Top Billing Hotel!!"
The contrast between Karoo Hotel exterior and modern luxurious interior is striking- then add oodles of charm and history and you have the look.

Our ivy-clad bedroom  and bathroom window (our bathroom was bigger than the bedroom with a luxurious white couch)- it overlooks the leafy dining room courtyard which leads to private honeymoon garden suite.... can't describe how gorgeous or say more, will simply have to stay there and take more pics...hint, hint!.

During our pre-dinner explorations, you'll never guess what we found in the Hotel's backyard..... The Belanti - the towns old cinema building complete with stage- gallery and PROPS! 
T'heo says, ' I  bought the Belanti cinema and got a Hotel!'

'The Belanti' original cinema in Barrydale

Before dinner, drinks in the bar that opens on both sides onto the wrap-around balcony, locals mingle with guests. By this time, the main street it dead quiet, not a car goes by- nothing, our collective kids are running wild through the main street on bikes and skateboards- I know.... initial parental PANIC.... and then the realisation that we're in the Karoo, all is well, all is quiet....except in the bar of course!

The well- stocked and comfortable  local bar in the Barrydale Hotel

The Slaghuis across the deserted street

Dinner in the hotel dining room is a Karoo feast- succulent Karoo Lamb on spit, boerebrood, fragrant carrot & orange salad, I'm pretty sure there was grilled mealiemeal with a delicious sauce, potato salad and more, but by this stage the wine was flowing and well, what can I say....

Romantic dining room with fairy light and driftwood chandeliers

 Wonderfully surprised the next morning to find a copy of the Weekend Argus and Die Burger outside our bedroom door- the fairy must have been 'super-woman' manageress Annalize, and there she was, overseeing the bountiful breakfast, as if the party hadn't ended only a few hours before- did I mention charming and capable?!
Breakfast was all a hangover could wish for, cereals, fruits, yoghurts, eggs every which way you could want, bacon, boerwors and onions, cheese scones and jugs of hydrating ice water!

Saturday morning explorations of the town......

Trattoria like restaurant on the side of the Barrydale Hotel- note the row of  gorgeous Leopard trees Theo has brought into the new landscaping of the gardens

Happy locals on 'pay-day' Saturday morning- we couldn't get far without taking pictures of everyone and their grandmothers!

Perfection! These tall cypress trees in the drive-way across the road- I wished the drive-way was longer..

Monday, 4 April 2011


The great circus came to town and went last night - what a fabulous night! I took the slightly reluctant, unsuspecting kids, it didn't take long, I heard their first gasps when we entered  the spectacular colourful arena.
I sat edge-of-seat the whole show with my stomach churning for the daring acrobats flying through the air, but this mine clown stole the show for me....

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