A half-day “holiday” in my new favourite place: Kalk Bay

Isn’t it amazing to live in a city where a short 40 minute drive can take you somewhere so different to your daily life that it just feels like you’re on holiday (albeit a short one). Yesterday we finally actually visited Kalk Bay. Don’t be judgy. Usually we’ve just driven through on the odd occasion of driving friends through to Boulders Beach or something, but we’ve never actually stopped to explore this little seaside fishing village.

Filled with quirky little shops, tons of vintage shops and plenty of wonderful little places to eat or grab a drink (which I wished so badly we could try out). I didn’t expect the amount of random vintage shops. Like tons and tons of just old stuff. Sometimes I like the vintage appeal, but other times I just don’t get it.

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We walked in and out of all the little shops (Greg was such a sport!), down to the harbour (I’ve never been that up close to a seal before!), and stopped for coffee.

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Next time I want to stop for drinks at the Brass Bell, the day was shorter than we would have liked as we had a friend’s birthday to attend. On the way home, we stopped somewhere just after Muizenberg on a cement ledge to have a bit of lunch. Usually we’re the type to do household admin work on a Sunday morning, and I’m so glad we put that off to enjoy a morning out together. Good company, beautiful views, and a fun day.

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Table Mountain, you beautiful thing.

We were lucky enough to be given a set of tickets to go up Table Mountain the other day. I was really looking forward to it as the weather had been lovely and the last time we’d gone was before we had even gotten engaged. So it really was a fair while. We graciously accepted, probably to many locals’ (and possibly tourists’ too) dismay at not hiking our way up.

Last week we met up with friends from Australia, who wondered if Cape Tonians ever noticed the natural beauty around them. I proudly told them how much difficulty I have keeping my eyes on the road on my way to work, with Table Mountain spanning my entire view (don’t worry, I always win this internal battle). I asked Greg the other day “isn’t it weird and wonderful how there is this massive mountain in the middle of our beautiful city?” and he rightfully responded “Lee-Ann, you mean what is this city doing built around this mountain?”, which I thought was true and somewhat insightful.

We went up, walked around, took some photos, admired the view, picnicked on sushi, chatted to lots of tourists – and offered to take photos for them, and ended the evening watching the sunset.

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Cape Town, I love you.

They say that change is as good as a holiday, but sometimes you just need a holiday for a change.

Our trip to Knsyna along the Garden Route was full of sun, beaches (a little getting burnt), holding snakes, beautiful viewpoints, lots of braais, lots of driving, dirt roads, and just general fun times. Out of all the things on my little list of things I wanted to do while we were in the garden route, we managed 3/4. We never got to ride an elephant because they were booked until the 10th of Jan. Bleak 😦 I won’t apologise for the image heavy post, but I will forewarn you (consider this it).

I’m so glad that we did so many different things to our last trip. We were a little worried that we’d “compare”, because last year we had such a fabulous and special time. We started our trip with a relaxing Shabbat: an early night, rummikub, a little brocha on our balcony overlooking the lagoon, naps and reading. We were practically in a food coma: eating, reading, sleeping, repeat. It was wonderful, and really the right compulsory break before the exploring.

On a colder, not beach-friendly day we explored the shops in Plett and landed up in the bar of the Beacon Isle hotel. It was so relaxing, just sitting there and talking. For hours. It’s not so often that we have that many uninterupted hours to really connect and not have to think about dinner/laundry/plans/work etc.

At the hotel we were picking up some pamphlets and found one for a snake park in The Craggs (where you’ll also find Monkey Land and other fun places). Greg loves snakes, and wanted to be a herpetologist when he was little. It was pretty interesting. Did you know that when they say a snake is “poisonous” that actually means it can shut down your nervous system, or your circulatory system? Heavy days, right? But don’t worry, most snakes don’t want to get in your way and will most likely slither away at the sight of you. And guys, I even held a snake. Two actually. I promise it was only for photographic purposes.

We braaied every night (it’s not a luxury we have in our little flat), and after discovering beautiful spots that had braai places too, we even braaied during the day (promise we brought lots of kosher meat with us from CT). I found about a place called Jubilee Creek on the internet, a beautiful creek with braai spots and a little 3km walk. So we had to check it out. Warning: it’s far (totally worth it, but far). As in, one you turn off the highway you’re going to be driving along dirt roads for about 25 minutes more. We guides at the SANPark entrance (small fee, again, so worth it) told us of the walk up ahead. We went and did the short 3km walk. But it wasn’t the flat walk I read on the internet. No, no. Jubilee Creek itself with that walk was faaaar, faaar down the dirt road, which we’d only discovered after doing the steeper walk. It’s ok, we had fun and took some pictures.

When we did eventually get down to the creek, it was so beautiful, we decided to come again on New Years Day for a braai. Our New Years braai was so great and relaxing. If you visit Jubilee Creek (and I do suggest that you do, its in between Sedgefield and Knsyna), and if you plan on braaing, you should try get there early at around 10ish, because it got really full later on in the morning. There were so many families braaing and kids playing in the creek. It was really picturesque, and I just sat on a rock with my feet in the creek read while Greg did his manly thing and braaied. There was (more) rummikub, (more) meat, and (more) marshmallows. Just how I like it 🙂 It was this day, that we also discovered panoramic photos on our cameras. Best things. Really.

We visited the Wilderness to meet a friend that Greg had made through studying for unisa (they had never met), and it’s so great to get local advice and tidbits from a local. She advised us to take a walk along the railway track at the beach, all the way around the cliff to a house of shells. Apparently you can stay there for a small donation, and were later told we should have asked for a tour (but the guy seemed a bit creepy and I was happy enough with some pictures along the train tracks. It’s all always about the photos, right?). But if you go, do ask him for a tour, I’d love to hear more.

And of course, what is a summer holiday with a bit of beach time. Here are the ones we visited and what you need to know:

  • Buffels baai: The thing about Knysna is that it doesn’t have a beach, so no matter where you go it’s a bit of a drive. Buffels is in the direction of Sedgefield from Knysna. It’s a great clean, white sandy beach and very popular with surfers. We got there early (like, the same time as the life guards) and enjoyed the sun and cool water. I did get horribly burnt though that day (everywhere), so I’m pretty opposed to suntannning these days (it’s dumb.dumb.dumb)
  • Noetzie: I was so excited to visit Noetzie with its beautiful castles. I just didn’t realise the dirt road we’d have to take to get there. My poor little toyota tazz didn’t know what hit her; it felt like she was going to fall apart for a whole 15 minutes. Basically, if you go to Noetzie, take a 4×4.
  • Brenton on Sea: As we were heading to Buffels, the people we stayed at suggested we try Brenton on Sea, as it’s a whole lot closer. I wish we’d known about it before. It was quite a busy beach (we did go at around 5pm though) but the water is magically warm. It was a real treat. Not to mention that on the way we stopped at the most beautiful viewpoint. It’s hard not to give Knysna your heart.

Speaking of view points, you can’t go to Knysna and not visit the viewpoint at the heads (as you leave Knysna towards Plett). You take the turn off and just drive to the end, there’ll be signs along the way. The views were exquisite, and our cameras couldn’t quite capture the beauty in that light. But it was so lovely and I just wish you could see into my head.

My final highlight of the trip was our trip along the Keurbooms River. We hired a motor boat from the Plettenberg Bay Angling club and spent the day along the river boating, braaing and swimming. It was seriously fantastic and such an experience. Though be warned: Speed boats. They make huge ripples in the water. Huge ripples that might scare the living daylights out of you that maybe, just maybe, your boat may capsize. Screaming might ensue.

Panorama’s are really the best way to capture some of the beautiful views we saw. So I’ll leave you with these gorgeous panoramas from our trip (they display nicest in these circles, but if you click you’ll see the full size). I hope you go visit the Garden Route at some point in your life. It’s such a treasure on the coast. Could we be any luckier to live so nearby?

A List of 10 Summer Firsts

It may not be summer quite yet, hell, it could just be spring that has sprung a month late, but it sure is starting to feel like Summer in beautiful Cape Town.

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To celebrate this joyful weather, I thought I would share with your my summer firsts as of October 1st:

  1. Today is my first day not wearing stockings.
  2. It’s the first day I’m wearing sandals.
  3. It’s finally time to make the switch to summer pyjamas.
  4. Today I didn’t even bring a cardigan with me.
  5. Shorter sleeves, flowy skirts and summer dresses.
  6. Bare legs for the first time in months reminds me it’s time to moisturize.
  7. Summer means drinking full bottles of water. I started this yesterday.
  8. Morning gym sessions! (ok, my intention was to start that this morning, but the sun was still sleeping when my alarm went off. This is officially starting tomorrow.)
  9. Everyone in the office is in the loveliest mood. I’m telling you it’s the weather.
  10. When I walk from my car to work, I can really feel the heat of the sun on my skin. It’s delightful.

Let’s get real, this is Cape Town, so the joy could be temporary until Summer really hits. But hey, if that’s what it is, I’ll take it. What Summer Firsts have you experienced, or cannot wait for?

A weekend by the sea would be a grand idea.

Going away for a weekend is really such a treat, a treat that unfortunately we haven’t been able to take advantage of in 1.5 years of marriage. You see, Shabbos just comes in too early on a Friday for us to get anywhere out of town to go away. Factor in Friday-post-work-traffic, needing to shower and setting up food on a hot-tray, and you’d understand why we haven’t been able to do this. Long weekends (that start on a Friday) are really such a blessing.

We weren’t going to go away at all over the Women’s Day weekend (right before my birthday) and a week or so after we decided not to – Greg drops the bomb that he’s found us a nice little place in Hermanus. It sounded perfect. Shabbos, sea, whale watching, bits of exploring – we’d actually never been away for Shabbos before, so that in and of itself was exciting. Imagine compulsory relaxing time by the sea?

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We left midday on Friday and arrived many hours later due to emergency roadworks. Either way we did some last minute shopping (like when you forget to bring bowls and spoons for your soup…) and a little exploring in the shops. There was the loveliest old school type bookshop. Tons of classics, tons of old books, so many bookshelf it seemed like a maze – I wish I’d taken photos, but I was a bit nervous of the little old man at the front desk. Eventually we got to our little rented apartment and it was so perfect. A great size for 2, sea facing, a braai and so tastefully decorated for a seaside home!

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We showered, the food was on the hot tray, we played rummikub and monopoly deal while we waited to eat dinner, we ate, I raved more about the wedding, we read (I finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, which is a seriously beautiful book. Again, my genre of “books that get made into movies”.) and eventually crashed while reading and went to bed at the grand hour of 10pm (I lie, it could have been earlier.)

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Shabbos morning was the greatest ever. We woke up late, we lay in bed reading and napping and playing more games. Greg even spotted some whales while I was reading in bed, calling out “show off for me, baby” while he watched through his binoculars. I couldn’t help but giggle at this boy. Before lunch we took a walk down to the sea. I think it was one of my highlights of this little weekend. It was a complete break from life and the world. It was completely secluded and there was no distraction of cellphones or social media. Not even the temptation, as it’s kind of what we do every Saturday. It was utterly relaxing. It’s what I’m sure most people want from a getaway break, and go to remote locations without signal. We didn’t even need to try for that. It was like a super shabbos on steroids. I wish that everyone could experience such a break to really take the time and connect.

We sat on the balcony watching the sunset as we waited for Shabbos to come out. We braaied (always a luxury when you live in a flat), switched between watching Come Dine With Me, George of the Jungle and Footloose before reading, and bedtime. In the morning I woke up while the sun was still busy rising, and because we were up on the third floor, and level with the horizon I could still kind of watch the beautiful colours of the sunrise. I snuck out for a photo in the cold, and then got back in to bed and continued to watch the sun rise and the day begin with Greg from our bed. What a seriously special moment.

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On our way home we stopped at a lookout point, overlooking the sea, high up from the rocks. We picked a bench, looked out to the sea, and took plenty selfies (“I love taking photos like this, it reminds me of back when we were dating.” – Greg. I think this means we need to do it more often, fun things shouldn’t stop just because you’re married.). And we chatted of course, before we headed home. It was such a refreshing weekend and just the greatest time to just reconnect and absolutely hang out with my +1. If you’d like to stay at this little apartment we stayed at (we were in a 1 bedroom, but the owner has plenty bigger options) please get in touch with me so I can put you in touch.

Weekends away like this are things I hope we will be taking much more advantage of in the coming years. We might not be able to afford a big overseas trip quite yet, but these little trips will do. And hey, I kinda like exploring my backyard.

Cape Town, you beauty.

And what a lucky girl to have a guy like this to share it with.

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Here is to many more times of fun, exploring, enjoying each other’s company, and photo’s to document it all.

It’s August: Eeeeeveryone wins a birthday!

It’s the 1st of August. I hate to sound cliche and note how quickly the year as passed, yet here I am, doing just that. Twitter has been ablaze this morning with “birthday month!” tweets. It seems as though all the (cool) kids were born in August (Me too, just btw). That, or their parents had tons of fun in their December/Christmas/January/New Year holidays.

In years past I used to have lists of things I wanted. I figured it would just make life easier for people and friends. I’ve been a bit slack of recent, as thankfully there’s nothing I really felt I need or want (aside for travelling, but that’s not a gift anyone can buy me). Sometimes though I feel the best gifts are the thoughtful ones, it’s the things that speak to your quirks. The things that you just wouldn’t quite buy for yourself because you have so many other things your hard earned money needs to go towards.

So I came across this giveaway on a local blog, where you can win some awesome goodies from local online store I Heart This. I really have such a deep love for the goodies on these local online stores, including the likes of Utique and Hello Pretty. So while entering this competition, I had a good browse through I Heart This’ website, and there are just so many things to love.

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A speech bubble mirror? YES! Just imagine the fun SELFIES!

Isn’t this ring dainty?

Such beautiful earrings. Not that I wear earrings, but they’re lovely.

Have I really become so domestic that I love a bread board??

Owls!

I secretly LOVE the concept of wall decals.

All this browsing makes me want to browse some other local online stores, but I really don’t have time for that. I’ll leave you with one of my favourites, this time off Hello Pretty designed by Bokke & Blomme:

How can you not want this displayed in your home?

Happy birthday August babies!

(Don’t forget my birthday is the 13th. Kthanxbye)

Cape Town: my one true love.

I’m completely in love with this city, and if you’ve ever been here it’s easy to see why. I’ve been so much more in love with Cape Town since moving to Sea Point and working in town, as I get to see some of the most beautiful views simply driving to and from work. Even a drive down to the gym is beautiful, especially as on my way home I see the most glamorous sunsets (1st prize would probably be walking along the promenade for those sunsets, and not just taking a drive past).

The other day I was stuck in some gross traffic which was making me late for gym. I was complaining to Greg on whatsapp as the cars barely moved. He said “Lee-Ann, you always talk about how much you love the views in Cape Town, so just sit and appreciate it”. Words of wisdom I tell you. It made my drive in traffic a whole lot more pleasant.