Kaapsehoop {travel}

Friday, May 30, 2014

There is a little town in South Africa that has only about 200 residents, where you are greeted with a signpost that its children, dogs and horses run free - it is the only place in South Africa where wild herds of horses occur, with the closest other place in Namibia.

This is Kaapsehoop. Or Kaapschehoop. 
It has a bit of an identity crisis.
About 35 kms from Nelspruit, the only telltale sign that there is a little dorpie in the rocky koppies is the roadsigns. I asked Flip to stop about one kilometre outside the town to take pics of the koppies and I didn't even notice it.

The dorpie was started when gold prospectors found some of the precious metal, but it wasn't as abundant as nearby Pilgrims Rest or Johannesburg. Could you imagine if you Johannesburg was situated here?

Upon arrival we settled in the garden of the Bohemian Groove Cafe, where owner Andrea Fourie told me all about the pleasures and gripes of living in a little dorpie. We enjoyed a few hurried drinks, as the sun was setting and we still wanted to see some of the town, and the cold was tiptoeing its way over the horizon. The fact that it is some 1 468 m above sealevel means that it can get real cold - but is also a good thing, as it keeps the mosquitoes at bay in the malaria-ridden Mpumalanga. Andrea's American Bulldog Pablo invited us in with his charm and was a sweet treat for me, as I am a huge dog fan and was already missing my furries at home. He was very happy to see us.

Funny story: I went to use the ladies when we arrived while Flip got us a table. When I walked outside, I saw the dog first and then the very handsome stranger. I was approaching the stranger to ask him if I can play with his dog when I realised that this handsome stranger was in fact my husband. He wore a hat, which I'm not used to. 

With plenty of charming little guesthouses, I think this dorpie will make a brilliant little weekend breakaway, as it isn't too far from all the picturesque attractions in the lowveld. {More on these attractions to come in the next few weeks}, I was just in love with the crisp, clear blue sky, the autumn-red Sycamore trees that coloured the dusty streets, the little ticky tacky houses on the hillsides, the air-so-fresh it burns your lungs, the people and the art. It was like a little piece of heaven.

It is true that dogs roam free in the streets, as we were surrounded and accompanied by all the town's dogs on our walk. I can only dream of retiring in such a fairytale setting.

Savvy Sisters Wine Club Experience

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who wants to read about Lady Chatterley's Lover over Tuc's crackers and wine spritzers at a book club, when you can blend your own wine, experience a new restaurant and scrumptious food every last Tuesday of the month? If you choose the book club, say I.

Not many I's right? Last night I learnt about the great wine club that is Savvy Sisters. Their website describes them as: "A monthly wine club meeting, for ladies only, where we discover and taste new South African Wines according to a theme set out, for example Organic Wines. Savvy Sisters meet at different venues around Johannesburg for a fun, girly evening". Local is lekker!

I was invited by the super fun Paula, from Hey There Paula, and we were treated to a talk by Elsabe Lategan from Babylonstoren at Toni's Pizza in Craighall. We learnt about all the blending of wines, such as Petit Verdot - the salt in wine; Cabernet Sauvignon - the deep dark chocolatey tasting wine; Merlot - the sweet sister, with red cherries, red berries, everything red; the Cabernet Franc - which is flat on your tongue (if memory serves me right); and one other wine I cannot recall. We put our best alchemist hats on, which produced a wine called Smitten and placed third out of six teams, so we were spectacularly average.

 My camera's batteries went flat, so I had to take pics with my phone.

Savvy Sisters really is a brilliant idea, as it connects ladies from all over the city - people who normally would not have known about each other - and introduces you to all walks of life.  It is held at a different restaurant every time, with different meals, but as we were at a pizza parlour last night the obvious meal was pizza. We had five different flavours that were oh so good!  No complaints here. Pizza is my favourite! We were also treated to a yummy salad, parma ham and a spinach pastry. Yum, get in my tum!

 Above picture on the left was taken when my camera still worked. Right is from Toni's Pizza.

Paula and I had such a laugh, with quotes such as "this wine tastes grapey" being thrown around.
Thank you Toni's Pizza and Savvy Sister for a great evening!

EDIT: Paula knows the restaurant pretty well and recommends their Belgian Chocolate Pizzette, so if you are ever in the area, you must give this a try. Let me know if you try it! 

10 tips for travelling on a very strict budget

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Travelling the weekend before pay day is not wise, let met tell you. It is budget this and budget that - no, you can't have that chocolate, because not only will it make you fat, you will probably need that R10 for toll money. We had to turn around before a toll gate because I forgot to withdraw money and for some reason my card wouldn't swipe anymore.

1. Don't fall into tourists traps. Oh, did we fall into them! We did every single touristy thing while we were in Mpumalanga, we bought all the curios, felt sorry for a certain restaurant in Graskop that had not clientele - a sign that we shouldn't even have gone in - and paid a hefty fine for bad food.

2. Make sure you have enough money for petrol. You want to arrive at your destination - all the tourists traps - and home without having to stall next to the road and not have to walk to the nearest petrol station. (this didn't happen to us, luckily)

3. Pack your own food. Instead of having to pay an exorbitant amount of money at a restaurant for shitty food and also having to then leave a tip for the shitty waiter, rather pack your own food. You then at least know what to expect from your food -  because you made it - and your wallet will thank you for it.

4. If you want to go on Safari, take your own car. Don't go on guided game drives or safaris if you have your own car. These are usually only two hours long and are pretty expensive. Budgeting for petrol also comes to play here. If you are planning on driving six hours in a reserve, you better have petrol. If you don't have petrol or money for a safari, then walk around your lodgings if you are in the veld. You might not see rhino or elephant, but you will still see some wildlife.

5. Do all the free things. There aren't a lot of things that are free anymore, but playing a tennis match with your other half, going for a picnic somewhere between the trees, jumping on a trampoline, hiking and bicycling (provided you have your own bike) are free or cheap alternatives.

6. Look for specials or coupons. Groupon always has some sort of spa day somewhere. If it is in your are and you area really keen on a massage, then make use of such opportunities. Also, we saw some activities that were cheaper on Mondays, such as river rafting or horseriding.

7. Drink free water. South Africa's water is pretty clean, one of the cleanest in the world, so instead of buying that damn expensive bottle of sparkling water, just grab an empty bottle and fill it with tap water. (I should listen to my own tips, but I just like sparkling water so much more than tap water)

8. If you are an international tourist, rather use buses or other forms of public transport than a cab or renting a car. These can be very expensive.

9. Travel in the off seasons. Right now it is autumn/winter, which makes accommodation so much cheaper. As for the rest, it doesn't change much.

10.  Really broke? Remember that friend who borrowed money to put petrol in his car, pay his rent, etc? Well, it might be time to contact that friend. Or your parents. (T&C's apply. Not recommended.)

Picture: Blyde River Canyon

10 Things You Must Have in Your Home by Age 30

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Following yesterday's post about actually now owning a dining table, I did a bit of research on what you should own by a certain age. As if summoned, Elle Decor recently wrote an article on their website about the 10 Things you must have in your home by the time you turn 30. I'm 26 now, going on 27, so I thought I would use this article as a guideline to see how I fare.

1. Art You Love
"Start collecting when you're young—it doesn't have to cost a fortune, it just has to speak to you." - Tod Nickey.

I am a tad obsessed with nguni cows, and have posted quite a few of my cow pictures here on the blog before. Most of the 'art' in my house consists of cow pictures.

2. An Organised Bookshelf.
Sorted. That came with our house.

3. Matching Towels
I do not make the grade on this one. We have a few towels that fit together, but there are some from varsity, some from home, some from Flip's place. In the end, my friends won't judge me because I have mismatched towels.

4. A Plant
Hahahaha. Funny story. I can keep three dogs alive and I used to have real green fingers with the ability to keep any houseplant alive. Now? They die when I just look at them.

5. A Nice Mattress and a Headboard.
Still have three-and-a-half-years to go before I need to make this goal. I do need a new mattress though. And we've never had a headboard. Maybe I'll make one from old pallets?

6. A Collection
Check. I have a collection of misfits at my house - including a staffie, a jack russell, a pavement special and a husband.

7. Bathroom Accessories that aren't Plastic
I fail. Flip is the one who always wants to buy bathroom accessories, but I feel it's just a waste of money and it will gather dust.

8. A Favourite Candle (or the knowledge that you are not a scent person)
Vanilla Candles everywhere!

9. Two Bedside Tables
Halfway there. We have an old little bedside table and a bunch of them standing around the house. But none of them actually match. I fail Feng Shui.

10. A Luxurious Throw. 
You know those misfits I spoke about under number 6? Well, they don't exactly allow the luxury of a luxurious throw. It will either be eaten or covered in hairs within five minutes. But those throws at Loads of Living that look like faux fur...oh my goodness, one day I will have one.

In hindsight, this might seem incredibly superficial and like who the hell cares that I have certain ten things in my home when some people don't have enough shelter against the winter cold, but I guess if you burden yourself with all the worries of the world, you will never just get to enjoy your life.

Picture via Elle Decor

You know you're a grown up when...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

You finally start buying big pieces of furniture for your house. We have been living in our house for almost three years now and never had a dining table. It's not that we didn't want one, but I have very specific taste in things and it took me this long to actually muster up the courage to buy a freaking table. Buyers remorse is so much with me.

Anyway, so we went and bought a dining table from @home this weekend, along with two chairs - will buy the rest as time goes on, but we are two people, so don't need more than that at the moment. When we have dinner parties, we'll just add BYOC in the invites. That's short for bring your own chair.

I simply cannot wait to get the table into it's little space, which one friend has annexed and dubbed 'her room'.

I'm already salivating about all the ideas for decorating and found a few inspirational pins on Pinterest. I cannot wait to have soirees and dinner parties galore. I feel so grown up now.

Mother's Day Gift Guide (WIN R5000 shopping voucher)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Girls, let's be honest, when it comes to buying your mother - the woman who brought you into this world and raised you to be the ladyyou are today - a gift for Mother's Day, you sometimes have no clue what to get. Right?

And, guys, how about getting a gift for your wife - the mother of your children. She also deserves to be spoilt on May 11. I'll bet you so much money that you buy the same box of chocolates every year, or that bathrobe and matching slippers? Well, here are my ideas ;)

Mother's Day Love

// Some timeless elegance on her wrist will make up for all the time's you've given her grey hairs. Hugo Boss Chronogram Watch - Lushberry. // Pamper her with this amazing Pamper Box // This beautiful mug will make her think of you every time she has he coffee // I would kill for this gorgeous Topshop Blazer // Make her feel and smell beautiful with this perfume from Calvin Klein // Let her wear your love with this petite ring from Dear Rae // Show off her local side with this Made in SA bag from Rosehip // Pretty up her home with this cross and and if you are still unsure of what to get her, how about a R500 Rubybox voucher? //

Stand a chance of also winning a R5000 shopping voucher from Mr Price Home! Click the image below to enter ;)

Theme created by PIXELZINE