Hello July!

I can’t believe that we’ve officially entered the second half of the year. It seems like just the other day that we were doing a countdown to welcome in 2014!

Nevertheless, I’m embracing it with a few “mid-year resolutions” one of which is to stick to the goals I set myself as far as my blog goes.

That being said, I’m starting up a new installment (for lack of a better word) called: “Life At A Glance…” It will include a collage of some snaps that I’ve taken throughout the month. Some will lead to longer blog posts, while others won’t. What they have in common though is that each one means something to me.

So without further ado, here is the first “Life At A Glance…”

life at a glance June 2014

Clockwise from top left:

  • It was my brother’s birthday on 28 June. He is my younger (and only) brother. Often he drives me crazy, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
  • My dad would have celebrated his 59th birthday on 28 June as well. Sadly, he passed away nearly three years ago, but he is always remembered on this day like every other.
  • This month marked a year since my best friend left for the USA to get married. I can’t wait to see her (hopefully) later this year.
  • My sister-in-law gave birth to our (second) super cute niece on 17 June. Welcome to the family and the world aunty’s poppet!
  • The Soccer World Cup kicked off this month and I drew Argentina in the pool we have going at work. They play their knock-out match this evening, so I’m keeping everything crossed for the boys in blue.
  • Granville and I visited Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens earlier in the month. This photo was taken from the Boomslang Tree Top Canopy Walk.
  • June is a month of birthdays in our family. We celebrated my mom’s with some good Mexican cuisine at Fat Cactus, Mowbray.
  • Granville and I headed to the village of Greyton for a weekend getaway. This was the view of our accommodation from the bed (where I was curled up under the blankets when taking the photo).

Vows Under The Vines

Just two days after Vanessa and Gio said “I do”, Granville and I headed to Welgelee in Paarl for a very special wedding — our friends, Jeremy and Lizel were getting married.

Friends for nearly two decades (of which I’ve known him for ten years), Jeremy was one of our bestmen, and on their special day, he and Granville swapped roles.

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The groom and his bestmen before the ceremony began.

Jeremy and Lizel’s wedding planning had a few more bumps than most, with Lizel having broken her leg just eight weeks before having to take the walk down the aisle. Thankfully, with the help of titanium pins and physiotherapy, that’s exactly what she did…

In her ivory, sweetheart wedding dress, Lizel looked breathtakingly beautiful as she walked down the aisle on her step-father’s arm toward Jeremy.

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Four generations: Lizel’s mom, gran, sister and niece make their way down the aisle.

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Walking down the aisle

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Craig and Bernacia read a poem during the ceremony.

And it was there, on a beautiful autumn’s day, under a canopy of vine leaves and in front of their friends, family and God, that they pledged their love to each other and became husband and wife.

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My best friend’s dad conducted the service.

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“I now pronounce you husband and wife”.

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The first kiss

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Jeremy’s brothers, sisters and nephews. His mom is pictured below with Lizel’s step-dad.

After canapes and the bridal party’s photo shoot (done by the amazingly talented dk photography), it was time to open the doors to the reception venue. With glass walls, that looked onto some of the farm’s horses in a nearby field, and fairy lights wrapped around wooden beams under the thatch roof, the venue looked like a dream.

Honoured to have been asked to be their MC, I got the speeches started soon after the newlyweds entered the reception venue. This was followed by their first dance to the glorious sounds of Luther Vandross’ “Here and Now”.

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First dance as Mr & Mrs

Once the couple cut their beautiful cake and both the bouquet and garter were tossed, the dance floor was opened, and so was the photobooth!

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Cutting their beautiful cake.

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Breaking it down!

Fun in the photobooth, teamed with the mixes of dj Catt, the usual suspects partied the night away — and when the caterers started clearing the table,
we danced outside the hall.

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The terrible trio! Lynton, Jeremy and Granville have been friends for nearly two decades.

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Dancing under the vines

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The trio and their wives.

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Wrecking the decks with dj Catt

Jeremy and Lizel, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special day. May the years ahead be filled with as much happiness and love as the day that you said “I do”, and may the honeymoon never end…

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March Madness Part Two

Nicole’s Italian Club Birthday Bash

After the romantic start to the month, it was time for a crazy party, when, less than a week after Nikki and Kurt’s wedding, my family headed to the Italian Club for Nicole (my cousin Darren’s girlfriend’s) birthday.

She’d been telling us about her party since January, and her excitement was infectious! Everyone was looking forward to it, despite the only thing Nicole was able to tell us about the place was: “It’s in Milnerton. The food’s amazing and they have an Elvis impersonator!”

Thanks to the power of Google Maps, we all found the venue and were gob-smacked to discover that this hidden gem was just off Koeberg Road.

1Inside, the venue was set for a party – three to be exact. Yip, three birthdays all been celebrated on the same night with one group of people crazier than the next.

The menu left your mouth watering and your eyes popping, as the proper Italian names are given for all of the dishes. (Thank goodness for English descriptions and waitrons who don’t find it rude when you point at what it is you’d like to eat).

The jaw-locking names were worth it though, because the food did not disappoint. There were only two things that could give it competition – the cupcakes that Nicole’s granny baked and the entertainment.

2Performing music from nearly every era, the live band had the crowd on the floor in no time. That teamed with their box of wigs and props for everyone to use was a lethal combination of fun. At one point in the evening, Elvis was dancing on our table and there was a train going around the venue – instigated by none other than Nicole herself!

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Thank you Nicole, your crazy family and mine, for an unforgettable evening – but most of all to your granny for those AMAZING CUPCAKES!

March Madness Part One

There’s no doubt about it, March was a doozy of a month. I don’t mean that in a bad way, actually the very opposite. It was an amazing (albeit busy) month, which was only the tip of the iceberg of things to come in the next few months for Granville and I. Here’s what went down:

Nikki & Kurt Tied the Knot

The month was off to a romantic start when my cousin, Nikki and her (now hubby) tied the knot.

Something that you should know about Nikki is that she is by far the biggest tomboy I have ever known. I think that many people may have been expecting her to have walked down the aisle in a pants suit, but boy oh boy did she surprise. She was an absolute vision in her wedding dress – with a touch of make-up and heels! Watching her mom, (my aunty Hayley) walk her down the aisle was nothing short of breathtaking.

 

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The bridesmaids and bride head to the altar.

Waiting at the altar, with a smile that would challenge the Cheshire Cat was Kurt. Now, I have been to many weddings and have seen many grooms watch their future wife walk down the aisle towards them, but his smile was unquestionably the largest I had ever seen. Knowing how long they had waited for their big day, it was easy to understand why.

 

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The bridal party after the couple officially became Mr & Mrs.

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After the ceremony, we moved to Jan Van Riebeeck High School for photographs and Pinelands Town Hall for the reception.

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The bridal couple with their parents and siblings.

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Some of the beautiful women in our family.

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Super cute Adam with his mom and dad. A very rare photo of Granville with Tatum and Lana. Usually, Tatum is not a big Granville fan, Lana on the other hand has always loved him to bits.

The high, wooden ceilings and chandeliers of Pinelands Town Hall helped to set the mood for the newlyweds’ reception. And what a reception it was! Good food and excellent music had everyone dancing the night away, making the night that much more memorable.

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Can you believe that Lana, in the above picture, took the three photographs at the bottom? A photographer in the making I’d say…

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Some of my crazy family having fun in the photo corner.

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Messages to the bride and groom.

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Having a ball of a time on the dance floor.

Nikki and Kurt, thank you for a fantastic time. One month down the line and those who were blessed enough to share in your special day still rave about it. May the years ahead be filled with all the blessings that you both so richly deserve and like your banner said at the reception: Live every moment. Laugh every day. Love beyond words.

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Nikki and Kurt’s first dance to John Legend’s “All of Me”.

Less than a week after Nikki and Kurt’s wedding, we headed to the Italian Club in Milnerton for a birthday bash for the books. But that’s another post…

 

 

Mutton Bunny Chows

A few weeks ago, I was left to my own devices while Granville participated in a church’s golf day fundraiser. I took the time to catch up on some recipes that I’ve been meaning to try out – one of them being a mutton curry bunny chow – YUMMY!
For those of you who don’t know what a bunny chow is, it is a hollowed out half loaf of bread that is filled with either a vegetable or meat curry. It is a traditional South African take-away that originated in the city of Durban.
Making a bunny chow is easy-peasy. If you can make a tasty curry, you can make this. You just have to ensure that the sauce is not too runny, and that you have a lot of it so that you have plenty to dip your fresh bread into.

I tweaked this mutton curry recipe that I found on grouprecipes.com, to add some more kick:

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Ingredients:

• 1.5kg mutton or lam cut into bite-size pieces
• 4 tablespoon oil
• 4 x 2.5cm pieces cinnamon
• 6 green cardamoms
• 6 cloves
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 4 sprigs curry leaves
• 2 green chillies, slivered
• 1 large onion, chopped
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
• 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
• 1 tablespoon brown vinegar
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons garam masala
• 4 level tablespoons hot mixed masala
• 5 cups water
• ½ cup tomato puree
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 6 even sized potatoes, peeled
• ½ cup chopped fresh coriander
• Salt to taste
• Loaf of fresh bread, cut in half or quarters

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Method:
1. In a colander, rinse the meat and drain excess water.
2. Heat the oil in a fairly large saucepan and add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and fennel. Stir for a few seconds.
3. Add curry leaves, chillies, onion, turmeric, ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
4. In a bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, garam masala and mixed masala. Add to the onion mixture.
5. Add the meat and salt. Mix until the meat is covered with the onion and masala mixture.
6. Cover the saucepan and cook on moderate heat until juices have been extracted from the meat.
7. Stir from time to time (adding water if necessary) until the meat is well braised and the oil floats to the surface.
8. Add water and continue cooking until the meat is tender.
9. Add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and potatoes. When potatoes are cooked through and the gravy has been slightly reduced, add the coriander.
To Serve:

1. Cut out the inside of the halved (or quartered) bread.
2. Spoon the curry into the hollowed bread and place the cut out bit on top.
3. Serve with sambals if desired.

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Tips:
• Cook the curry over moderate heat to ensure plenty of sauce.
I catered to mine and Granville’s taste buds a bit more by:
• Adding few teaspoons of curry powder to the recipe for an extra bit of oomf.
• Using more sugar than the recipe called for (I did this to taste, as a Willy Wonker curry was not my aim).
No matter how you eat this meal, it has the potential to be seriously messy. So grab your napkins (or a towel), embrace it and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

A Bushwhacking Birthday

I was blessed to celebrate my 29th birthday last month. Seeing as it was my last before the big 30 (God willing) I decided to do something different. What I came up with shocked quite a few people – I had decided on a tent camp!

Doing this was quite out of the ordinary for me for three reasons:

  1. I always have lunch or tea with my family the Sunday of my birthday.
  2. I have never gone away for my birthday.
  3. I have always been the person that has needed the most convincing to go tent camping.

Tweede Tol, just outside of Wellington was the place that I decided to go to. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and after looking at photographs of the place, I was sold. And so, it was that on Valentine’s Day some friends and I headed out for a weekend of bushwhacking.

Even the drive to the campsite was breathtaking – and I’m not just talking about the spectacular views. You see, to get to Tweede Tol, which is a Cape Nature site, you have to go over Baine’s Kloof pass. This is all good, if you’re on the mountain’s side, because the other side is a steep drop. It’s so bad, that Lynn has actually said that the next time we go over it; she needs to be in a deep, deep sleep.

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Heading through Wellington before reaching Baine’s Kloof Pass.

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Views from Baine’s Kloof Pass.

On arrival, Granville and I set up our tent (yes, I really helped with all of that) and settled in to wait for the others. Once all the tents were pitched and the fire was started, Granville got to work on his most amazing biltong potjie. It was during this time, as the sun was setting that we realized that between nine people we had packed everything except the kitchen sink – and extra torches! Granville and I had one between us, as did Jeremy and Lizel. Thankfully, theirs was so bright that Gary was forgiven for bringing a torch with flat batteries.

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Our home for the weekend, before attaching the fly-sheet.

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The stream behind our campsite, which was used as a quick place to cool off.

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One of our neighbours.

The next day was insanely hot. The heat was so intense, that we didn’t make it to the site’s huge waterfall, from which you can jump into the natural pool below. Instead we went to a smaller, closer one. It was so gloriously cool. With a baby waterfall and fish nibbling at Melissa’s feet, we stayed at this natural pool until our hungry bellies forced us back to camp.

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One of the two natural pools.

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At the campsite and going for a dip.

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The Hartogh’s clearly love photo-bombing!

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I love this sequence of events.

Eventually the sun got the better of us once again and we set off in the opposite direction to cool off in the natural pools in the site’s day visitor area. It is here that we discovered a boy, diving down in front of one rock and coming out the other side. He had found a tunnel through the rock that was big enough to swim through. Did this discovery not call to Clinton’s inner child! He very excitedly went through the underwater tunnel and even showed other children where to go and how to do it!

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The day visitor’s “pool”.

After a super yummy braai for supper, thanks to Erin and Granville, we played a few rounds of 30 Seconds by (single) torch and firelight before calling it a night. Unfortunately, we had to head back home the next day. More accurately, we headed to my uncle’s house to spend the rest of our Sunday in the pool.

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Packing up on Sunday morning.

Thank you everybody for making my birthday weekend camp so much fun and so memorable. I know that my last year as a 20-something is going to be a good one if this is how it began. So, here’s to many more camps, good friends and family and the year that lies ahead.

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I’ll Be Back

I have been such a terrible blogger this month!

There are so many things that I need/want to share, and will do so shortly. These include my birthday camp at Tweede Tol, my first attempt at making a bunny chow and a photo-a-day challenge that I attempted.

So watch this space. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have played catch up within the next week.

 

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Fluttering Lashes

I do believe that I’ve been blessed with quite a few of my dad’s personality traits and physical features. Unfortunately, his beautiful long eyelashes was not one of those things. Not to say that my lashes were non-existent, but they always needed a mascara wand’s magic touch to give them an extra bit of “oomf”. The problem with this though, was that every time I needed to apply some I became a danger unto myself — having stuck the mascara wand in my eye many a time.

Thankfully, my friend Melissa has come to my rescue. She owns a company called Scarlet Styling, and offers a wide range of beauty treatments including Brazilian blow dries and make up artistry. Recently, she’s added lash extensions to her box of tricks and I’m over the moon about it.

It was in the comfort of her home (normally she comes to where you are, but Granville was playing golf nearby so I went to her) that I had my lashes transformed…

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Tools of the trade.

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Melissa puts the eyelash glue on a funky purple stone while she applies the lashes because it makes the process easier.

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There are different lengths of false eyelashes that gets applied with the iLash Artistry Adhesive which gives the client natural looking lashes.

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The glue that is used to attach the false lashes to your own.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a long process. It took nearly two hours of Melissa concentrating to individually glue a lash extension to each of my natural lashes. And as hard as she was concentrating, I was too — on keeping my eyes closed and trying to lay as still as possible, a task that I have never quite mastered. My attempt at this was well rewarded with the most beautiful, natural looking, false eyelashes.

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Melissa at work.

It’s been just over a week since I’ve gotten my luscious lashes and I’m still getting compliments about how great they look, and how open my, narrow, eyes look. With a fill required on a monthly basis, at a very reasonable price, my new eyelashes are something that I will most certainly be maintaining.

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If you’re interested in having your lashes, hair or make up done in the comfort of your own home, feel free to check out, and like, the Scarlet Styling Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/scarletstyling/info.

 

New Year’s Eve Campout

December 31st is a day that many, if not everyone, looks forward to. It’s a day when you can pat yourself on the back, because no matter what may have happened to/with you throughout the year, you’ve gotten through it. Midnight brings with it a brand new year filled with hope and possibilities. It marks the start of a blank page in a 365 page book that you are able to fill with the most amazing memories and adventures.

This date also symbolises a night filled with parties and, sadly, many people driving recklessly. For this reason, my friends and family always meet up at one house, party the night away and sleep over and this past New Year’s Eve, we did it with a twist, by camping in my cousin’s backyard!

With tents pitched around the campfire in the middle of his yard, the music pumping and the Jäger bombs flowing, New Year’s Eve 2013 was definitely one for the memory books. Besides the laughs, fireworks and glow sticks, Inga also took her final puff on a cigarette!

Thank you to everyone who was there to ring in 2014 and especially Gary and Lynn for hosting such an amazing night that led to a great New Year’s Day…

So here’s to a very Happy New Year everybody! I hope that each of the pages in this new book you’ve been handed is filled only with great things.

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Pitching tents for the night to come.

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The fire’s set and ready to go.

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Inga’s last puff on a normal cigarette. It’s just e-ciggies for her now, with minimal nicotine!

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We’re not just friends, but family!

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And So They Said “I Do”

Together for eight years, our dear friends, Charlene and Zaayien, tied the knot earlier this month – not once, but twice! Their first wedding was a traditional muslim wedding, with the second a white wedding held under a canopy of trees at D’Aria Wine Estate in Durbanville.

A natural beauty, both inside and out, Charlene looked breathtaking and Zaayien’s smile when he saw her was absolutely priceless…

Charlene and Zaayien, thank you for an amazing, fun-filled day. It was truly special. May the love and respect that you have for each other continue to grow and may your union always be blessed. Granville and I are both honoured to have shared both your weddings with you. Congratulations!

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At Charlene and Zaayien’s muslim wedding.

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Some family members at the first wedding.

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The beautiful bridesmaids

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Uncle Julian giving his eldest daughter away. I love this photo…

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The wedding cars were just jaw-dropping.

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Congratulations. May you forever be blessed.