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Thursday, October 2, 2014

1 Year. The ever-loving best.

For people my age, sharing your relationship on social media is a catch-22. Like, on the one hand, you're excited about it and you're proud of the person you're with. You want people to see them and think "wow, now there's a catch!". You want things to be Facebook Official. You also want to ward off potential "Hey, what u up 2?" Facebook messages from that guy you met at Sgt. Pepper that time and the like.

On the other hand, you don't want to be "that" couple. The one that writes love letters on each other's Facebook walls. Of course, there's also the risk that the relationship might eventually end. There's only one thing worse than breaking up, and that's having to change your relationship status on Facebook when you do. Natalie Roos went from "in a relationship" to "single". Cue "oh no, what happened?" comments and inbox messages (especially from that guy you met that one time).

But I'm a sharer. I like to document my life and experiences. I like to read about the lives and experiences of others. There's something about seeing someone going through the same stuff as you, experiencing the same highs and lows as you. It makes you feel like you're not the only one on earth who has to deal with the general admin I like to call "being alive".

I met the best person in the world on the 28th of September 2013.  On Saturday we will have been dating for a year. In the past year we've had an amazing time getting to know one another, falling in love and fighting. We fight SO MUCH. And at first that really stressed me out.

In previous relationships, fights meant one of several things: An ex boyfriend would use every single fight as an excuse to hook up with a girl. "But I thought it was over between us!" Another would put up an impenetrable wall as soon as a fight was on the horizon. I mean, he would literally stare blankly at me and not say a single word. Silent treatment for days until it looked like I'd given up. Basically, any fight meant that the relationship was on the brink of being OVER. Very stressful.

But after the first few fights we both realised that fighting doesn't mean it's over. And ignoring the issue doesn't make it go away. Fights don't mean you're basically breaking up.

We don't fight because we don't like each other, or because one person does something particularly hurtful or thoughtless. We fight because; a) he loves nothing more than arguing, even if he has no particular emotional investment in the point being argued (I know he's going to comment on this, arguing that he in fact, doesn't like arguing) and b) I love nothing more than being right and being agreed with. Other reasons we fight include: him being a morning person and me definitely not being one.

I've learned a lot from this relationship. I've finally learned to balance being in love and having a life outside of that love. I've learned what it's like to be loved for exactly who you are (even if you are shit) not who you can be when you are being your best self for the sake of someone else. I've also learned that I don't have to fit inside someone's "girlfriend box". I know what it feels like when someone thinks you're so great that they want you in their "life box".

This guy. I never thought that men actually treated women the way this guy treats me. Oh how we have laughed. Together and at each other. We laugh mostly all of the time that we're not fighting.

He never makes me feel insecure. He never dismisses my feelings. He never puts me second. He will get up in the middle of the night to get me a glass of water (this is a metaphor for the kind of guy he is). He will support me when I decide to go to India for a month by myself. He will hang out with my parents even when Arsenal is playing. He will drive to pick me up in the middle of the night even though I am perfectly capable of taking an Uber. He is the ever-loving best.

Thanks for 365 days of learning about love Keenan. You're the best person I've ever met.


Eat Cape Town: Waterkloof Wines

Spring at Waterkloof. Hello beauty. 

The Waterkloof Wines estate is pretty much candy for the eyes in every possible direction. Three-hundred-and-sixty-degrees. Delicious. From the scenic drive through the vineyard up to the tasting venue, to the floor to ceiling glass restaurant that offers views all the way to the blue waters of Gordon's Bay. 

Look at that. This image is from the Waterkloof website

The aptly-named "cellar in the sky" is an award-winning venue for it's gorgeous architectural excellence and it's here where Chef Gregory Czarnecki serves up plate after plate of his signature food art

I say food art and I know you're rolling your eyes. But wait till you see it.

The glass venue blends in with nature, with views over fynbos, mountains and vineyards. While we were eating, two hawks were engaged in a mid-air duel - one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I mean, I can't make this stuff up!

I believe that humans eat with their eyes and every plate of the 6-course degustation menu is a colourful, thoughtful masterpiece.

Food so pretty it's almost a shame to eat it. Until you taste it. Using unusual techniques to add flavours to his dishes, like a green pea custard (don't knock it till you've tried it) and a pistachio dust, Chef Greg surprises you with every mouthful and keeps you interested from the first course all the way through to the 6th. 


Eating at Waterkloof is not just lunch or dinner - it's a food experience.

Of course, the wine is another highlight. Each wine pairs beautifully with your plate of edible art. My favourite wines were the salmon-pink Rose and the deep red Cabernet Franc. When I told the sommelier I loved the Cab Franc, he topped up my glass. Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

I love the fact that the winemaker embraces the climate, soil and winds of the region, giving the range the name of "Curcumstance". It's like "we're not trying to be anything we're not - we're taking what we've got (strong winds, extreme climate) and making the very best of it." I like that. 

The waiters and sommelier are super friendly and know their menu and wines incredibly well. Don't ever be scared or shy to ask about what you're eating and drinking. First of all, they genuinely enjoy telling you about it and secondly, it helps you enjoy the experience more when you understand how the flavours work together. 

If you're looking for somewhere beautiful to spend an afternoon eating and drinking in one of the most beautiful settings in the Cape, you can't go wrong here. I'm planning on taking my folks when they come down for Christmas, although I can already here my dad saying "this food is too small". 


You can find Waterkloof Wines on the Sir Lowry's Pass Road, Somerset West. Call them on  (021) 858 1292 for info or to book. They're also open for wine tastings from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Beach Camp, Paternoster

For a long time, Paternoster on the West Coast was my favourite weekend escape. The white-washed beach houses, long sandy strip of idyllic beachfront and shimmering blue-green waters are what dreams are made of. Big pots of mussels and sweet crayfish tails. A braai in the icy west coast wind and a bottle of wine. Delicious.

But recently, the high crime rate, less than welcoming locals and disproportionately high accommodation rates have dulled some of the shine of this seaside village for me. Stories of brutal robberies, repeated warnings to keep doors and windows locked at all times - even when you're inside, and a general air of bad energy have unfortunately knocked Paternoster off my list of weekend retreats.

However, just outside of the town, in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, The Beach Camp creates a whole different Paternoster experience. Wooden A-frame tented accommodation, no electricity and a huge fire pit where you can sit right on the water and see thousands of stars. Waves lap at the rocks literally a few meters from your bed. Fresh air and city escape. This place is the West Coast's most valuable hidden gem.

The accommodation is rustic. Like, communal showers and rudimentary toilet facilities rustic. But it was exactly what we wanted - something different to home. The water that side is freezing and the night air can take a summer's day down to a pretty cold temperature, but we absolutely loved this place and can't wait to go back.









Eat Cape Town: Triggerfish Brew

I first discovered Triggerfish Brewing when I spotted their Sweet Lips blonde ale on a menu a few years ago. With a name like that, how could I not order it? I then got to learn a lot more about the beer and the brand when I interviewed the brew master and owner, Eric van Heerden over a couple of bottles of his beer in 2013.


In an industrial-looking area out in Somerset West, you'll find Eric, a passionate beer-lover and brewer, creating exciting beers from his garage-style setup. A business man by profession, Eric got into brewing beer for the love of it. Lucky us, since his beers are delicious. Listening to him talk about beer is exciting. His interest in the beer industry and culture is infectious.


He has a huge variety of brews on tap and in bottle, including some experimental varieties, like a coffee beer (very good for a hangover, apparently) and a wine beer. His tasting room is super chilled, and a great place to spend the day tasting your way through some unusual beers including ones I'd never heard of like a Russian Imperial Stout and a Barleywine.




They've just launched their new restaurant menu and I got to sample a few items a few weeks ago. Steak and ale pie, curry and one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I've ever eaten all paired with delicious beers.

Find them at the intersection of De Beers Ave & Broadway Road in Somerset West. Email them on info@tfbr.co.za or call 021 851 5861 for more info or to book a tasting and lunch. 

New project: Discovering #franscHHoek

I've always loved the Franschhoek Valley and I recently got to spend a couple of days there, discovering some of the many delicious food and wine offerings this plentiful valley has to offer. This was a work/pleasure journey, since I was there to gather content for an exciting new project I've been working on with Destinate, Flow SA and the Franschhoek Tourism Board.


Introducing Franschhoek's new blog. A place where stories and pictures from the valley can be shared. Where the multiple layers of this stunning valley are uncovered in interesting, photo-heavy blog posts to inspire local and international visitors to explore and stay in one of South Africa's most beautiful wine regions.

The blog launched on Friday last week with a bank of content that Flow and I have created over the past few weeks. My first two posts are live, so click through to see what I loved eating and drinking in Franschhoek.

Wine-tasting your way through Franschhoek



"While the natural beauty, fascinating locals and gourmet food vie for your attention, the highlight of the Franschhoek Valley is, undeniably, the wine.

With a history dating back to the French Huguenots, Franschhoek’s wine culture is just that, a culture. Food and wine form an integral part of many social gatherings in South Africa, and in Franschhoek this is taken to a whole ’nother level.

You could easily spend weeks sipping your way from farm to farm, admiring the views of the mountains and eating course after course of gourmet deliciousness. I spent three days in the valley, meeting with winemakers and farm owners to find out what it is that makes it such a special wine region." - read more on blog.franschhoek.org.za

A foodie tour through Franschhoek


"Hidden in the corner of the La Cotte wine shop in the centre of town, Fromages de France is a cheese shop that will transport your taste buds straight to the cheese boards of France.

Owners Lodine Maske and her husband Ludwig are passionate about good cheese. So passionate is Lodine, in fact, that a few years ago, when Ludwig confessed that he didn’t see the appeal of French cheese, she packed their bags and took him all the way to France to sample the flavours of the French fromages.

Their cheese counter is stocked with a variety of around 125 French cheeses – most I’d never even heard of before – that they have selected for quality and flavour, and imported exclusively from French suppliers, who took months to be won over." - read more on blog.franschhoek.org.za

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pre-RTD 2014: 5 Things I've Learned About Rocking The Daisies

There's always a lot going on in Cape Town, but the only time of year when everyone - from that mean waitress at Clarke's to the rugby team at UCT - can band together in excitement for a single event is Rocking The Daisies.

This will be my fourth year at Rocking The Daisies and I've done the tried and tested "what to wear at RTD" and "what to pack for RTD" blog posts to death. I've realised that I may not actually be the best person to give this advice anyway, since I don't much care for the fashion of the moment and I'm too lazy to pack almost half of what you actually need for RTD.

On top of that, one of Cape Town's hottest young comedians, Schalk Bezuidenhout has already made this phenomenal video, so no one else has to.



I know of at least one person going to Daisies for the first time this year (shoutout to you Xander van der Merwe) so for his sake, and the sake of anyone else who might be heading out to Darling for the first time, I give you this list.

5 Things I've Learned About Rocking The Daisies


1. It's not a fashion show

Ok, yes it is a fashion show. But since the weather generally ranges between hot, boiling, windy, cold, freezing and raining, I say take lots of clothes. Your winter wardrobe and your summer wardrobe. Take it all. And pile it all on. In layers. That way you can be sure that you're hitting at least 2-3 trends at any given time.

2. Don't take food

I say this every year and every year I see poor souls dragging Weber braais and skillet pans from their cars and scraping cold congealed eggs off them in the harsh light of Saturday morning. But why? Why take food many of Cape Town's finest establishments will be on hand, to do the hard work for you?

3. Do take cash

I'm serious. A couple of years ago I fell for the advertising that some bank brand would be there to swipe your card for free etc etc and I ended up spending a day and a half without food or drinks. It was dire. This year my favourite app, SnapScan will be there so you can pay with your phone. (If you don't have the app yet, download it in the App Store or here and change your life)

HOWEVER, I urge you to take backup cash. You never know what the signal is going to be like and anyway, when your phone dies you don't want to be that one person who spends all their time trying to drag their friends to a charging station. Bring cash and let your friends live.

4. Wear sunscreen

Last year was cold and despite getting a spray tan for aesthetic reasons I spent the entire weekend covered up from head to toe to try to escape the cold. Despite the lack of heat, by Sunday my nose and forehead were burnt to little crisps and for the next 10 days my face basically fell off. So yes, wear sunscreen.

5. Let yourself live

Spending the entire festival hunting for your friends might make you feel like you have a reason to live, a mission, a calling. But really, it's kind of boring and exhausting. Why not hand over the reigns to the universe and just have a good time, bumping into friends along the way?

Bonus tip: 6. Take a torch

Last year I tripped and fell over a rouge tent pole in the dark and almost lost an eye. This year I'm going to be lighting my way through the cross-cross maze in an effort to preserve all my senses.

Check out the Rocking The Daisies app on the App Store - find festival information, make your own festival schedule and pin your car and your tent so you don't lose them.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Roxy Burger Gets Married

I met my friend Roxy Burger when we were about 14 and 16 years old respectively. It was in the studio at KTV and I was so nervous for my first day on set. Roxy was this tiny, professional, dynamite woman and I was very intimidated by her.

Over the next few years in studio we got to know each other and became friends. I've watched Roxy grow from a teenager to a business and television mogul. More than 10 years later I had the privilege of doing her makeup for the most important day of her life.



          

      


All images by Charlene Schreuder Photography. To book a trial for your wedding makeup email me on kissandmakeup.nat@gmail.com