Stumbling upon Paradise

I was completely unprepared for Paradise.  It  took me utterly by surprise, took my breath away, then released me back into the world to re-acclimatise to life outside of its perfect walls.

My friend, Lindsay-Jane, and I have a tradition of going to Cape Town for a few days together at the beginning of each year.  Okay technically we’ve done it twice now.  Maybe twice isn’t enough to call it a tradition, but we plan on doing it for years to come, so perhaps a tradition in the making.  Nah, it’s a tradition.  Our tradition.

Back to Paradise.  Last weekend was Cape Town weekend.  Some how, the tradition gods all got together around the water cooler and declared it a weekend of magic and wonder.  And wandering and excellent coffee and getting a table straight away at every busy restaurant we went to.  And the weather holding off perfectly until we were ready to spend a rainy, cosy afternoon in bed eating dark chocolate and watching old episodes of Sex and the City.

On Sunday afternoon we headed out of the city towards Franschoek to a wine farm called Babylonstoren.  It was well, Paradise.  That’s the last time I’m going to say that. Past the rows of rows of vineyards, which always seem like a dream,  there was beautifully maintained gardens. Upon gardens. Upon gardens.  Not too manicured or haughty, just right.  Rows and rows of vegetables growing boldly towards the sun.  I saw a pumpkin the size of a wheelbarrow.  Sadly I was too busy tapping it to make sure it was real to think to take a photograph.

There were donkeys, turkeys, a squirrel and countless chickens all wandering around freely.  Luckiest farm animals around. We ate lunch next to a green house which is also a restaurant.  Our salads came in jars (sounds weird, was awesome) and our waiter had a great knowledge of the wines and meals they served.

Throughout the gardens there were benches and chairs, dotted around under trees, between archways, right at the spot where you need to put your feet up and breath for a bit.  In the middle of a garden we stumbled upon a man on a bicycle selling sorbet and ice water.  “Sorbet or iced water?”, he casually and friendly-ly offered.

As well as the greenhouse restaurant and glorious gardens, there is the main restaurant, Babel, which, if you have patience for the three month waiting list, is I am sure, completely worth the three month waiting list.  There is also a beautiful shop selling glass jars, candles, table clothes, hats, beautiful ceramics, pretty much anything you can imagine to take home a piece of the experience.

Oh and there’s wine tasting.  Wine tasting as a tortoise strolls past munching on a piece of lettuce.  “They move much faster than you think”, said the Canadian tourist next to me.  The toes on their back feet have to be some of the strangest I have seen.  The tortoise, not the Canadian tourist.

There was something about being in that environment that made me want to go home and paint everything white, work with my hands more and raise a gang of turkeys.  We left feeling like we had been there for days.  Rested, inspired and in awe of the simple, beautiful aesthetic of this extraordinary space.

Babylonstoren’s website.

The last time we went to Cape Town and and an afternoon with baby lambs, if you’re in the mood for more ameezing.

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Shopping. Photographs. Fairy Lights.

Sometimes I shop by Whatsapp chat.  Three girls, one group chat called ‘Gurlfriends’ and into the shops I go.  It feels like I’m living in the future to snap a photograph and send it off into nothingness and wait for the ‘Um, no’ or the ‘Please get me one too’.

And oh my shopping companions.  Lindsay-Jane does classic, chic, New York minimalist like no bodies business and Miss Cara Birdie does sparkly, pink heels and long, blonde locks like no bodies business.  Some highlights include,  ‘I think you two are on crack’,  ‘This is totally different from that time I bought palazzo pants’ and just a simple thumbs down emoticon.  Today, these shoes got that emoticon from one third of the trio.

Is it weird to travel with your own set of fairy lights? I’m going to work in Cape Town for a couple of weeks.  And it’s almost Christmas and what if my B+B doesn’t have fairy lights strung up for the festive season?  So I’m taking my own.  Yes?  Yes. [Read more...]

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A Joburger in Cape Town

PS. A thirty six hour affair to remember in Cape Town.

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Some Pictures from a Time of Sunshine

Two weeks ago Mr Ameezing and I went on a spontaneous trip to Cape Town for a few days.  A time of sunshine, movie watching, beach walking and general happiness of life and heart.  Mr Ameezing took some wonderful photographs of our  dreamy stay there.  The turtle is a personal fave.

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Three Moles and a Cape Town Women’s Day Lunch Date

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Going Solo

Living in South Africa, and especially Joburg, as a female I don’t go to many places alone.  I don’t go out at night alone and we don’t really walk anywhere, let alone, alone.  So what a thrill to hop on the gautrain yesterday and then a plane and drive into the city of Cape Town, just me, my gps and a little, plastic hire car.  Listen to a radio station that I don’t recognise and breathe in the unfamiliar, salty air.

I took a stroll this morning down Long Street and stopped at a great new cafe called Yourstruly.  I sat alone at a table eating a deelicious croissant and drinking a deelicious latte without looking at my phone or yelling out ‘I’m not a loser, I’m just alone’, even once.  I listened in on the conversations of a group of chef students at the table next to me, talking about last weekend’s parties, how much they hated icing lessons and what kind of gerkins were in the sandwiches they were eating.

When I was 18, I lived in Paris for a few months and quickly got used to the feeling of seeing amazing things alone.  I stood infront of the Mona Lisa, marvelling at this little (it really is smaller than you think) piece of history, smiling deceptively back at me and everyone else in the room and wished I had someone to say, ‘hey, we’re here, and so is the Mona Lisa’.  But there is also a weird thrill in experiencing new adventures alone.  A feeling that always makes me want to cry and laugh at same time, but ironically never actually do either because when you are alone, the experience is your companion and you don’t want to scare if off.

I’m fetching Mr Ameezing from the airport tonight, and whilst I can’t wait to spend a few days with my beloved in the city of no litter and no parking, I really enjoy the strange yet ameezing adrenalin rush that being alone in an unfamiliar place brings.

[I took this photo this morning whist driving around getting lost on purpose.  It was, well, ameezing.]

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I Miss You

Hello Ameezing Friends, its been long hey?! And I miss you.  It’s funny to say there really hasn’t been time over the last few weeks for this little thing called blogging, but there reeeally hasn’t been.  Shame.  There’s a few things I have been wanting to talk to you about, some I’ll come back to and some, have kind of dissolved in a moment in time, but I still wish we’d had a chin wag about them.

I’ve gotten more responsibility at work and the lessons I have learnt from that, one of the top ones being ‘Confidence’.  Confidence assures, explains, sells, fixes, keeps calm and carries on.  You can never have enough confidence.  Or double-sided tape.  The terribly tragic death of Amy Winehouse.  The opening of the Rosebank Gautrain (there’s now a train running underground virtually right outside my front door.  Ameezing).  Being broody, since this post about love and divorce, I have discovered a new-found freedom in honesty here.  Even if it’s a little scary.  More about babies and divorce to come (‘Oh no she di-ent’).  Super excitement about a little Cape Town getaway with Mr Ameezing next week.  I’m a Joburger through and through, I work too much, stress alot and get a kick out of violently beautiful sunsets, but Cape Town is my secret crush.  One I will never act on, but sometimes fantasize about.  So I am really looking foward to a little flirting session next week.

I took this lantern picture in Thailand in January whilst on the back of a scooter, with Mr Ameezing expertly navigating the traffic (helmets? In Thailand? Never!)  We stopped at a traffic light and I glanced up to see a sky of lanterns.  I look at this photo often, to remember that moment and the ocean of feelings it came with.

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Lucky Fish

Beloved Aadil went to Cape Town last week to work for 8 days.  Whilst he was away I learnt two things.  Life is much sweeter with your beloved by your side and gee whiskers, the man can buy a present.  Or three.

Out of his suitcase came these treasures.  Each one fancier than the last.  Thank you Beloved, you are more ameezing than I could ask for.

Wonderfully rusty, oddly shaped tin for the collection.

Just what every girl needs.

Just reading the Financial Times, catching up with some friends...

And this ameezing camera.

That has me snapping away like film grows on trees. And wearing all my favourite vintage dresses to match it (this one, a present from the Fabulous Cara).

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