Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Down To Earth Farm Feasts - Joburg

You know how there are some people who can do pretty much anything better than most other people? Cook, play music, sing, decorate a home, wear cool clothes? Well, imagine a family of these people. The Schoon family are a clan of blonde, beautiful, incredibly talented people who between them, can do just about anything. Beautifully.

The only brother, Fritz, is the owner of the incredibly popular Stellenbosch bakery De Oude Bank. The mother Jenny, the creative director behind her children's various projects. Now eldest sister Dany has started a project that I love absolutely everything about. Have a look at this:

Down To Earth Farm Feasts is a new venture from the hands and mind of Dany (Schoon) Krynauw and her best friend Danielle Strydom. Together, they have launched a pop-up eatery that serves delicious, "real" food on a long table in the outdoors or in beautiful greenhouses. (Well, it looks delicious. I have no idea if it tastes good, but I'm willing to bet my cat it does). 

Their kitchen is an old fully converted Mercedes truck. Their venue is Nature. The idea is based on a project in America called “Outstanding in the field”. The project consists of a group of people, amongst others, a very creative chef, his group of helpers and food enthusiasts who travel to various communities, searching for and discovering passionate farmers and interesting farms. The chef creates an original menu daily, based on the seasonal and available produce from the farms.

Their next event is happening on the 9th of February at Sunherbs Farm in Joburg. Tickets are R500 and include dinner and all your drinks. Have a look at their website for more about their Feasts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Up The Creek: My First One

I've been to many local festivals over the years. I've done Oppikoppi, Rocking The Daisies and RAMfest several times. I've done Splashy Fen, Synergy, Flamjangled Tea Party and even Afrika Burn. One festival that has slipped though my calendar's fingers up until now has been Up The Creek. But this weekend, that is all going to change.

Set on the Breede River in Swellendam, Up The Creek is, according to everyone I've spoken to, one of the best festivals of the year. It's small, with only 2000 tickets available and it's all about having a chilled time. From what I've heard, everyone just floats around on various inflatable devices and watches the bands. Sounds like an awesome time to me!

Come Friday afternoon 4pm, Roxanne, Sarah and I will be in the car, singing along to Taylor Swift and hoping we get to Swellendam in time to pitch our tent while it's still light. (Nash is risking his life going on a fishing tip with 25 other boys) So if you're trying to get hold of me this weekend, I'm afraid I won't be able to take your calls. On account of being on up the creek.

All images from the Up The Creek Facebook page

Check out their website for more info or Ticketbreak for tickets.

Body Worlds, Anyone With A Body Needs To See It

On Friday Nash and I visited the Body Worlds exhibition at the V&A Waterfront. Man, it was so amazing. I haven't been able to stop telling people how amazing it is. If you have no idea what Body Worlds is, let me give you a brief breakdown: Prof. Gunther von Hagen invented a process called Plastination, which preserves the human body after death and makes it possible to present real human anatomy. This is the first time that medical students and the public alike have been able to view the real human body aesthetically and anatomically correct.

It was the first time I had ever seen a dead human body and I must admit, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that the exhibits were actually real humans who used to have lives and families and souls. It was kind of like I was just looking at dummies.

During their life, these humans had volunteered their bodies to be Plastinated and exhibited to help further education of the human anatomy. The exhibition is the first of its kind and has been to more than 70 cities around the world. So far, more than 50 000 South Africans have visited the Cape Town exhibition.

It was absolutely fascinating to see exactly what your body looks like underneath your skin. The exhibition is designed to showcase how the human body is both incredibly resilient and incredibly vulnerable. I was actually ashamed by how little I know about my own body (I didn't have Bio at school), especially the female reproductive organs. I mean, I've been living in this thing for almost 25 years, I should know how it works.

Some of the exhibits show the body in peak physical condition, while others are examples of bodies riddled with disease. I found it especially sad and interesting to see the physical difference between a set of healthy lungs and the lungs of a heavy smoker. I was also completely mesmerized by the exhibit that showcases a fetus from conception to birth. How magical the body is. How much tiny, tiny detail can be seen on a little fetus at just 4 weeks old.

I think the experience really delivered on its promises in the sense that it educated me as well as further instilled in me the belief that we MUST take care of our bodies. Yes, you could live a relatively happy existence being overweight, eating food that is made from chemicals and never feeling your heart rate increase as you run or jump or swim. But you could live THE BEST life if you spend every day making conscious decisions to run your body like your life depends on it.

Like, if someone gave you a car and told you that this is the only car you will have and that you must look after it because if it breaks you might not be able to fix it and then you'll be stuck with it forever. Would you leave it out in the rain and sun and fill it up with the cheapest, nastiest petrol that you could find? I don't think you would.

A healthy body has the fuel it needs to fight off disease and old age. A healthy body means that by the time you're seventy, you will still be able to do the things you love. And I mean the small things you love, like walking down the stairs to the beach as well as the big things you love like travelling to see new places. Places that you've been saving for your whole life to see.

If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, I urge you not to miss out. I can't image anything that should or would interest any person more. It's just been extended until the 20th of March. Tickets are available at the door. For more info, check out the Body Worlds SA website.

Monday, January 28, 2013


On Saturday morning, if you were awake early enough, you might have seen a gang of six scooters tearing through the streets of Cape Town. That gang was myself, Nash, Misha, Serg, SimonAlain and Rudi. You might think scooter gangs can't be hard core. We'll then you haven't seen ours.

It was bright and early on a beautifully clear morning as we met at ScootDr. in Waterkant Street to rent our bikes. Helmets on and bellies empty we set out along the beach road through Seapoint towards Camps Bay. The ride took us about 25 minutes of no traffic, stunning views and playful taunts from the only Capetonians around at that hour on a Saturday: cyclists.

I don't often hang out in Camps Bay, but if you're looking for a spot for breakfast on a Saturday morning, it's definitely the place to go. And if you're going to Camps Bay for breakfast, you better go to Cafe Caprice. I had the eggs royale which was absolutely delicious. If you follow this blog you probably know that I judge a place heavily on their ability to produce a fantastic hollandiase sauce. Well, Cafe Caprice, you get a gold star.

While the rest of our gang split to go about the rest of their Saturday business, Nash and I continued along the coastal road to Hout Bay. We stopped off at  the Bay Harbour Market for a bit of a look around and a drink and continued on through to Constantia to hang out with Nash's folks and relax around the pool.

It was such an awesome day. If you are looking for a good way to see Cape Town or just a fun activity on a weekend I highly recommend hiring yourself a scooter and taking to the open road. I must have traveled that coastal road a hundred times, but there's something different about seeing it from the back of a bike.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Taylor Swift And" Meme

I love Taylor Swift enough to be able to laugh at/with her. She's not perfect. Only her music is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Virgin Active Wellness Wednesday: Back On The Wagon

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! I've been feeling preeeeetty guilty about not posting a single health or fitness related thing this year, but to tell you the truth, I pretty much spent the holidays horizontally sipping on coconut milk and rum. Then I got back and it was work work work and my brain was all "I'm exhausted from trying to remember what it was like to think about work and driving a car and wearing shoes and not having a rum at 10am!" and so I would get home and the only thing my brain would let my body do was watch Homeland. And feel guilty about not exercising, obviously. It was fine with doing that.

BUT, I have finally started back on the path of righteousness. I'm back on the wagon. I'm officially back at swimming and it feels...well, it feels pretty great! I had been struggling to find the motivation to pull on my swimming costume and I put off getting back into the pool for ages. I think it was actually because I was scared. I was worried that I'd dive into the pool and find that I had completely lost all the fitness I'd worked so hard for last year and that I'd have to start from scratch. And that it would be too hard. But as it turns out, your muscles have a memory box where they keep all the lessons they learn during training and I managed a respectable 2,3k swim on my first day back in the pool. Which was really all the motivation I needed and now I'm swimming twice a week and going for walks and runs and saying "no thanks" to drinks after work in favour of doing some kind of exercise.

I've also made the decision to learn to run this year. I know this may sound stupid, but I have no idea how to run. You might think that just having legs would mean that you can run and you would be half right. I am physically able to run. But my technique is somewhat flawed. I can't run properly. Which would explain why I normally only manage two laps around my block before my calves seize up and my lungs abort mission and I vow never to run again. But my friend Hannah is a keen runner and she took me on the longest run of my entire life yesterday and I am not even trying to sound cool when I say that I really enjoyed it. We ran for 7km and I even got blisters on my feet! Man, I've never been more proud of blistered feet. 

If you want to become good at painting or catching a ball, you have to practice. Your muscles and mind have to figure out how to do it and then how to do it better and so you do it over and over and you spend hours practicing until you finally become good at it. And then you do more of it. And then, one day, you find you love it. That's how I see my running journey. It's going to be hard and I'm going to be bad at it but the more I do it the more my body and I will learn about it. And then we'll get good at it. And hopefully one day we might even love it.

So that's me right now. Are you guys back at the gym/prom/pool? And please, tell me, how do you get/stay motivated when the only run you want is one that means hot water in a bath?

Wanna get started? Click here
Visit Virgin Active on Facebook for motivation and awesome tips.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's Good, It's In Glass. WIN With Consol

I have long been a big fan of glass. I admit to being a bit of a glass hoarder. I was always one of those kids who would tear up and down the beach all day long, looking for pieces of washed-up glass, sandblasted by endless churning waves, collecting them until I had as many pieces as my little hands could carry and I was good and sunburned.

I'd take them home to our beach house in Pennington and spend hours agonizing over what exactly I was going to do with them until, eventually, I just had to press my eyes tightly shut and throw the glass away. Heartbreaking. But don't worry, the next holiday I'd do it all again.

Now, I find myself holding on to all kinds of other glass, from pretty water bottles to cute jam jars. I have a habit of keeping them for "something". I mean, look at noodles. They are pretty boring decor items. But put them in a cute jar and you can set them free from their pantry jail and let them live happily ever after on your kitchen counter. "Oh, look at those cute jars of pretty noodles!" Your friends will exclaim. "I know." You'll say. "I'm an artist."

Consol's glass products are innovative, clever and are pretty. Have you seen those solar powered jars that they have? Man, those are so cool. And the jars that you can write on in chalk? I admit to having spent a good few hours writing and re-writing "quinoa", "soup mix" and "cous cous" on those babies.

They've also got such a cool selection of printables on their website that you can download and for your jars and things. Look at these cute ones:

printable flags

printable jar decals 

I have loads of Consol jars all over my kitchen for things like storing the above mentioned food items, knives and forks and various other "things". I also use their bottles and jars for serving cocktails and drinks. Because yes, glasses are fine, but nothing says "this is a special and tasty cocktail" like serving it in a glass jar.

Consol recently sent over a whole box of jars and bottles in various sizes and now guests can't even get through the front door before I'm offering them a peach and vodka cocktail! Here are some pictures of cocktails looking better than ever in glass jars.

This weekend we had some friends over and I didn't take their "no thank you's" well at all and pretty soon they each had my now famous (infamous) Vodka Peach Candy Slush (TM) in their hands and were all sipping away happily.

Here's the recipe:

2-3 ripe peaches
lots of vodka
many many blocks of ice

Blend it all together. You could top it up with soda water or lemonade but we didn't have any so everyone just got small portions.

You can WIN an amazing hamper of Consol glass products including jars big and small, bottles and more bottles, cute straws and even cocktail umbrellas. 

To enter:

1. Comment below and give me your favourite cocktail recipe
2. Remember to include your name, Twitter handle and email address
3. Tweet a link to this competition so all your sweet friends can enter it too

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back In 2012: Hout Bay Manor

You know what I love even more than food?
That’s absurd! There’s nothing I love more than food.

But do you know what I love as much as food?
Staying in hotels. I absolutely love staying over in gorgeous hotels. Or guest houses, bed and breakfasts... Pretty much anywhere that has white linen and tiny bottles of shampoo.  I’m not sure what it is about spending the night in a hotel that I love, but I’ve always been excited about it. I think it makes me feel glamorous.

I especially love a night a hotel if the hotel has a fantastic chef who cooks fantastic food in their fantastic restaurant.

At the end of last year Nash and I had the opportunity to wine, dine and spend the night at one of Cape Town’s most gorgeous boutique hotels; the magnificent Hout Bay ManorSiris Vintners and chef Philip from PureRestaurant were hosting the Pure and Siris Vintners and Wine & Dine evening and we were invited to the feast. 

I can’t believe we lived in Hout Bay for more than six months and we’d never been to Pure before. The restaurant is large and full of natural light. It has been beautifully decorated to reflect the seaside proximity, with driftwood decor and a neutral colour palette, so it’s more “seaside luxe” than “beach house tacky”. From the window pane ceiling hangs a gorgeous blown glass chandelier, which is the showpiece of the room. I couldn't stop turning in my seat to stare up at it.  

Our sommelier was one of the top in the country and he was incredibly knowledgeable. The six courses we feasted on were perfectly paired with the wines from farms like Nitida and Groote Post. I absolutely adore food and wine pairings. There is something so special about the science of complementing flavours in wine and food working magic on your palette. 

After dinner we headed through to the bar for a few after-dinner drinks before retiring to our room. The room was beautiful! I love that they had decorated in an African theme, but kept the African touches really classy. Pure white linen complemented with touches of bright red prints. A few animal prints here and there. Dark wooden floors and a huge four-poster bed, with fluffy pillows and bedtime treats. In the room were luxurious white robes, a free-standing ball and claw bath and a shower that was big enough for shower yoga.  

The room opened up onto a stunning view of the pool and when we woke up we opened the balcony doors to let in some of that fresh seaside air. A big, decadent dinner always leaves me hungry in the morning and we headed downstairs for breakfast next to the pool. Nash had eggs Benedict which, as you know, is the hallmark of any good breakfast menu. We reluctantly left the hotel, already checking our calendars and planning our next visit.

This really is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. It's just outside of the city, yet it feels so peaceful and quaint that it might as well be hours. I highly recommend keeping Hout Bay Manor in mind if you're planning a Valentine's getaway.