Friday, 21 April 2017

Rain Africa Goes Wild

It was a gloriously warm, okay hot Tuesday when I drove out to Ballito for the Rain Africa event hosted by the franchise owners of Pavilion, Gateway and the new Ballito Junction stores – Yusuf Sheik and Ryan Waters. Why a Tuesday? Well it was a public holiday! Human Rights Day to be exact.

This year’s event was held at the Rain Farm Game & Lodge which is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary that caters for day visits, getaways, conferences, weddings, parties and special events. I never knew that this place existed and I was blessed to be able to see it and especially to be able to go on a game drive. As usual I am jumping the gun.

The event started at 10am and we arrived right on time (Inge Loker of Snap, Sizzle & Cook and Cee from Ceeces Travel came with me). We were warmly welcomed by Yusuf and Ryan and also by Ronel from Rain Africa head office in Swellendam. I accepted a much appreciated cold fruit juice and a lovely wooden fan. We all put on our leaf name tags and chatted while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Once everyone was there we climbed up into the safari vehicles and went for the game drive and also to see the property. We had a highly entertaining young Afrikaans guy that was our guide and he certainly made the drive a memorable one. We saw Giraffe, Wildebeest, Ostrich and very plump Zebra. We also took a slow drive past the fenced enclosure where the two hand reared Caracal are kept. It is a beautiful property and I really enjoyed the drive, fresh air and lots of laughter.

Once we were back at the main building we made our way to where the event was set up, but first we were offered a hand massage with the wonderfully fragranced Biologie Manketti & Sunflower Body Scrub – which I accepted. Yusuf and Ryan always put a lot of effort into decorating the tables and this year was no exception. I loved the drinking bottles on the table (mine said “Sip Back and Relax”) and all the other little touches like the packet of tissues for each guest.

Yusuf welcomed us all officially and thanked us for attending. He explained a bit about how he and Ryan came to own a Rain Africa store and their surprise that they now own three. Ronel from Rain Africa head office spoke to us next and she did a demonstration on correct breathing. Ronel is the sales and spa manager for Rain Africa and is involved in the creation of the various treatments.

Then it was time for lunch and what a surprise it was – culinary creations! We had all decided what we wanted for lunch at the beginning of the event so what we were having was not the surprise, but the presentation certainly was. A beautifully arranged steak with sweet potato crispy ribbons and crunchy carrots. It was perfectly cooked and one of the best steaks that I have had.

After eating lunch and before dessert we got to look at, touch and smell the Mother’s Day range which is based on the fragrance of Waterlily. The range consists of bath fizzes, mist, slippers, hand & body lotion and hand & body liquid soap. I definitely want to buy the mist.

I chose the chocolate brownie for dessert #amazing and I loved the ice cream and the crispy meringue that was served with it. A perfect ending to a wonderful lunch.

Thanks so much Yusuf and Ryan for an incredible day!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Durban Based Just Juenè Luxe Swimwear Launch

My daughter Laura loves bikinis and she is always looking online for the newest styles and to see what she can add to her collection. Early last year she was fortunate to win a bikini from Just Juenè South Africa - JJSA who is based here in Durban.

Juenè Ferreira started her swimwear company with help from her parents when she was 16 years old. She subsequently chose to leave school and be home schooled so that she could devote more time to growing her business. This year she turns 21 and she held her first ever media launch at Vivo Umhlanga which I signed up to attend with my daughter.

The media launch was to show her new 2017 Luxe Swimwear Range. She has also launched a new plus size range of costumes for the more full figured South African woman. Every year Just Juenè chooses a model to be the face of her brand and this year’s choice is Jessica-Louise Salt.

NidaalXO performing his song "Need to Know"

Juenè Ferreira and Jessica-Louise Salt

Juenè Ferreira, Jessica-Louise Salt and the rest of the models

Just Juenè South Africa – JJSA store is at 1 Tetford Circle Umhlanga Rocks inside the Towel Kingdom shop. Don’t be sad if you are not Durban based as you can order from their Facebook page and they courier countrywide.

Here are a few items from their latest Luxe Swimwear Range :

Mesh Cut Out One Piece R460

Stripe Onezie R430

Aztec Sea R485 (my daughter's favourite)

Bali Army R420

Mesh High Neck R490


Monday, 17 April 2017

What, Where, When - Part 2

I’m back for Part 2 of What, Where, When.

Wednesday 29 March I went with my Mom and sister to a fairly new place in Assagay – Bona Terra. They had both been there before in December and it is on my local and lekker list to visit. We enjoyed cappuccinos with chocolate cake and carrot cake which we shared – the cake not the cappuccinos. Bona Terra Cafe is a lovely place and there is also a garden centre, pizza place and furniture and decor shop on site. I will visit again so I can take photos to share about it on the blog.

We then went to two second hand / vintage shops – Second Treasures which has a HUGE range of furniture and the owner Christi does amazing paint techniques. Christi painted a bookcase for me which I love.
Mrs Pinkerton is situated at the Mushroom Farm and she sells furniture, decor items, vinyl records, clothes and jewellery. I have bought clothes from the shop before and a beautiful glass dome.

On Thursday I had to get to the office and catch up on my work. Couldn’t have the boss i.e. husband frowning at me.

Friday 31 March I got to spend time with my two sisters – Inge Loker who I have claimed as my sister and Carryn who is my actual sister. I first met Inge very early at Lineage for coffee after the school drop off. I had planned to only have one coffee – well. Kgune the head barista at Lineage has been making me different coffees to try, so that day he made me a Cortado Americano and then an Espresso #caffeinehit So when Inge arrived I had already had those but couldn’t let her drink alone so also ordered a cappuccino. At 9am I went to fetch Carryn and we met Inge up Botha’s Hill at Cafe 66. It was a very hot day and since I was caffeinated already I decided to have a sparkling water. Carryn and Inge chose to have Americanos which looked like cappuccinos (they didn’t have cappuccinos on the menu). Before we sat at the restaurant we had a very good look around HeyJude’s. Saw some lovely furniture and other decor items but the prices were a bit much for us.

So, so glad that Carryn was able to extend her stay in Durban as we were able to go to I Heart Market together! We love going to wander among the stalls and the beautiful big trees. We always get coffee from Jacksonville Coffee and Smith’s Bakeshop’s delicious cupcakes. It was a very hot day – too hot for cappuccinos – so instead we opted for refreshing iced coffees. We don’t usually buy much at the market but that day we both found a vinyl record we liked, a small pouch for Mom to keep her keys in and I bought a beautiful journal from Abide Creative. Before leaving we went back to Jacksonville Coffee for another refreshing (and cold) iced coffee.

Carryn was supposed to return to Jhb on Tuesday 4 April but happily her stay was extended yet again and she eventually left on the Thursday. So on Monday 3 April we went to the Hillcrest Aids Centre as Carryn had seen that they had half price on books, CD’s and DVD’s.  There is also a white elephant shop that is stuffed with stuff – a real scratch shop. I bought a CD, an oil burner (to replace the one my husband cracked while swotting a fly), drawing pencils, foam art brush, book and an art canvas. We had to wait 15 minutes before the white elephant opened and so to “pass the time” we looked at the newly updated and extended Woza Moya shop. Half an hour later we were still in Woza Moya. I stocked up on Rondavel soap, found very pretty blue beaded earrings and even bought a Grow Your Own Tree Starter Pack. I chose the Yellow Bauhinia which grows up to 8m tall.
After Hillcrest Aids Centre we drove to the Kloof & Highway SPCA as Carryn wanted to look through the vinyl records and find some more books for her son. I even found 2 records and now I just need the “tech department” (my husband and son) to set up the record player.

Wednesday 5 April was a sad day as it was the last day I could spend with my sister before she returned to Jhb. Had to take her to new places so first we visited Alicia’s Atelier which sells decor and painted furniture. It has a mix of old and new things and lots of paintings.

We then went to Springside Cafe which Mom and I had visited last year. It has beautiful country/shabby chic decor and a big fountain. A very tranquil place with fabulous cakes. They also have a salon on site and a gift/decor shop called Marcellas. When Mom and I went to the cafe last year I drank the cappuccino I ordered with long teeth – it was awful! Was surprised to discover that the beans used were from Bean Green and I don’t know what the cafe did to them to make such a bad cup of coffee. I am pleased to report that this time the cappuccino was much improved but ever so slightly weak. My Mom and daughter were with us and Laura (daughter) took the opportunity to order breakfast and an extra plate of chips which she really enjoyed. She even had a slice of chocolate cake. I had lemon meringue pie and Carryn the carrot cake with our cappuccinos. Springside Cafe is a lovely place to sit, relax and chat and there were a lot of tables with ladies doing just that.

Laura wanted to look at clothes at Mr Price so we all went to Hillcrest Corner after Springside Cafe. My husband, Neil and son, Caleb were working in Hillcrest and Mom and Carryn were thrilled to see them. We had to go for more coffee so I chose The Daily Grind which serves Terbodore Coffee. A wonderful coffee shop which seems to be always busy. I do recommend that if you visit that you take a table far from the preparation counter as the milkshake maker is very noisy and drowns out conversation. Love the way they serve the coffee on wooden boards and the cappuccino was great.

And ........ well actually that is the end of What, Where, When and a wonderful time spent with my sister. Till next time Carryn! Hopefully with me visiting you in Jhb.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

What, Where, When - Part 1

Shew! It’s been an eventful and fun two weeks!

My sister Carryn came down from Jhb to spend time with my Mom and of course with me as well. But that is actually the wrong place for me to start.

I had won a stay at any Protea Hotel for two nights in December 2015 and with the busyness of 2016 I had not got around to use it. I tried to book a stay at the end of November 2016 but unfortunately the hotel – Protea Hotel Durban Umhlanga – was fully booked. The lovely people in booking told me not to worry and that they would like to extend the voucher to the end of March 2017. I made a booking for 22 and 23 March and this worked out perfectly as my husband had been working a lot of hours doing an installation at the new Ballito Junction Shopping Centre. This was great for him as he then didn’t have too far to drive. I was also quite close to the airport so I could easily fetch my sister on the Thursday (23rd).

My husband Neil and I were very impressed with Protea Hotel Durban Umhlanga. Quick and efficient check in, fabulous decor in the reception area and throughout the hotel. Our room was spacious and comfortable with two queen size beds and we adored the shower (we are going to redo our bathroom and I want a shower head just like it). There was also a welcome food snack basket in the room. Our room overlooked the building site for the new Oceans Umhlanga and we could also see the new Pearl Walk shopping centre. The hotel is so close to many restaurants and a short walk from the Umhlanga promenade and pier. 

Our first nights meal was enjoyed at the new Butcher Boys Umhlanga as Neil had had a craving for steak. What a great restaurant and the steak was incredible.

We had decided not to have breakfast at the hotel and instead find a place on Chartwell Drive which is filled with various restaurants. We walked up the road to see what our options were and then walked back down once we had decided that we would eat at Vovo Telo. Neil had never eaten there and he was so impressed with the food that he said we would be having breakfast there again the following morning – which we did.

Neil went to work at Ballito Junction Shopping Centre and I had a few hours before going to fetch my sister from the airport. I was very happy to finally be able to visit and shop at Catalyst which is situated inside the Umhlanga Medisport Pharmacy. Catalyst is filled with fabulous South African products and I could have bought a lot more that I did. After shopping at Catalyst I passed the time reading the newspaper in the reception area and then watching a bit of TV back in the room. Finally it was time to take the drive to the airport.

As you can expect there was happiness, laughter and so much talking when I fetched Carryn. We headed straight for So Whipped at Gateway Shopping Centre for our usual cappuccino and a delicious cupcake. We then spent a bit of time looking at a few shops before I took her to my Mom’s place.

Neil managed to get back to Umhlanga before I did and had decided where we would have supper that night. I was very happy with his choice as it was a restaurant that we love going to in Kloof – Olive & Oil. It was a beautiful evening and we had great service and a fabulous meal at the Umhlanga Olive & Oil.

After supper we decided to take a walk down to the pier and to see the lighthouse. It was a warm evening but the walk was pleasant and it was lovely to see and hear the sea as it washes under the pier. I had expected to see quite a few people out walking but they must have all been inside the restaurants. After the walk it was back to our room at the hotel and to get some much needed sleep.

After a great night’s sleep we had another incredible breakfast at Vovo Telo and then Neil had to leave for the Ballito Shopping Centre as it was opening day and he needed to be there in case of any problems. I packed up our things and relaxed a bit before check out which was at 10am. Very friendly reception staff again and I quickly paid for the parking of my car, loaded the suitcase and made my way back to Kloof.

I didn’t go straight home but drove to the new Hey Gorgeous which had just opened that morning in Kloof. Such wonderful smelling products and lovely sales ladies and I bought a face mask for my daughter. I then went to look at the Hillcrest Aids Centre’s Woza Moya shop and then at one of my favourite decor shops – Muse. Then it was time to get home and unpack and have coffee.

Saturday was an at home day and on Sunday I went with my Mom and sister to the Kloof & Highway SPCA monthly Sunday market. On Monday we went to the Hospice shop in Pinetown and to a very interesting nursery directly opposite Hospice where I bought an old ribbed bottle and a beautiful Sylvac planter (thanks Amanda TheVintager for sending me pictures of the place).

On Monday 27 March I dropped my daughter at school and went to fetch my Mom and sister for our trip to the Midlands. Our first stop in the Midlands was at St. Paul's Church in Curry’s Post. It is a beautiful little church which is situated very close to my Dad’s uncle’s farm and my Mom and I had never been there. Carryn had found the church one day when they had been meandering on their way to Terbodore Coffee. We had a lovely time taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful morning sun.

Then it was time for coffee and we headed to Steampunk Cafe for cappuccinos before starting our charity shop visits. First up was the SPCA shop at Greendale Centre but there was nothing that caught our eye. Next door to the SPCA shop is a book shop called the Lazy Lizard which is unfortunately closing down. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for us fiction books were R5 and non-fiction R10. I found an art book for my daughter and a calligraphy book for myself. Carryn was in raptures as she discovered many beautiful old recipe books that she had never seen before. My Mom even bought a book and we left the bookshop very happily with our bargains. Just up the road is Hospice Howick where only my sister found something to buy.

It was already 11:45am and we needed to get to Fern Hill Hotel for our 12pm booking for lunch at the Snooty Fox restaurant. None of us had been to the hotel before so we needed time to get there and we were happy to find that it was quick and easy. The parking was chock a block full and we were blessed to get a shade parking close to the entrance. We were warmly greeted by reception staff and shown to the restaurant. There was only one other table occupied in the restaurant and after they left it was ours for the entire duration of our meal #bliss. It took time to decide what we would eat and of course we looked at the dessert section first. Chef of the hotel : Alex Poltera, told us that the dessert menu had just been changed. He asked if we would like him to make the dessert choices for us and we happily agreed as we love surprises. For actual lunch we all ordered the Beer Battered Jumbo Hake with pea puree. Carryn and I had it with shoestring fries and Mom had vegetables. They were not kidding with the “jumbo” part! A huge piece of hake and still another quarter piece! Lots of yumming sounds as we appreciated the crisp batter and delicious fish. We were served by Kobe who is a second year student in the hotel school that is run by Fern Hill. He was friendly, efficient and he didn’t catch us with food in our mouths while enquiring about how we were enjoying our meal. He also had great knowledge about the menu. We were all unable to finish our fish especially since we needed some space for dessert – very important!

Oh my, oh my, oh my – the dessert!! Three plates and three different desserts – Peanut Butter Parfait, Black Forest Crème Brulee and Tropical Citrus Pavlova. We had to taste all three so we passed the plates around. I started with the Tropical Citrus Pavlova which is ideal after a heavy meal as the flavours are fresh and light and very fruity. I am not really a peanut butter fan and didn’t want to be left with the taste in my mouth so I had the Peanut Butter Parfait second. I was pleasantly surprised. The taste of peanut butter was slight and perfect and the dessert was creamy and delicious. My final taste test was the rich and decadent Black Forest Crème Brulee. This is not a regular crème brulee but a deconstructed version with the crisp topping as shards placed into the dark chocolate mousse. A very rich and very satisfying dessert.

A very memorable meal and Carryn said she would be taking her husband there for lunch the next time they come down from Jhb and go for their regular Midlands Meander. Thank you Fern Hill Hotel for such a delicious meal and amazing service.

Our last two stops for the day were the SPCA bookshop and another SPCA shop in Howick. We then headed home on the N3 chatting, laughing and recounting all the charity treasures we had found, the amazing lunch we had enjoyed and the blessed time we had spent together.

This post is quite long so it looks like you will have to return for Part 2 for more of What, Where, When.