Thursday, April 17, 2014

Off To The Cape

Woooo! This is my last post for a good long while. Easter Holiday 2014 is here and we are about to be off road tripping in the Cape.

This week has been good, although we did get an extra evening at home ;) Monday night we spent at home and on Tuesday The Trucker had a friend from the USA visiting so they went for dinner while I went to SCM. And then on Wednesday we were both supposed to go for dinner with him but the plans changed.

I took Gypsy Cat to the vet for her 2nd annual vaccination. Shew. Time flies ;) Anyway, one last day of work and then we're off. Here's a photo montage of the highlights I'm looking forward to! See you when we're back.

Monday, April 14, 2014


What a lovely weekend :) I started by rushing home and cleaning the house while The Trucker made dinner. We'd invited @jarredcinman and @blakey over, which meant a vegan meal ... well for one of them, at least.

The Trucker was keen to have them over for a drink then head up to the Indian place, which we'd already been to with @jarredcinman, so it was a safe bet. Usually when he's over, I make Veggie Burgers (only cheese for me) so had said perhaps Ostrich + Veggie burgers was the way to go. But instead, I scoured the internet, determined to put in some effort and found a recipe (literally by searching for things like "Vegan food for non-vegans" Haha) that looked delish.

I wasn't expecting The Trucker to do all the cooking, but putting together a big meal seems to be something he loves so he volunteered. Awe. Anyhoo, so the recipe was called Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagne. Sounds awesome, does it not? Basically you replace the lasagne pasta with sourdough bread and obvs no cheese. We also had bought these tins of proper Italian Tomatoes at The Culinary Table last week, and damn if this wasn't an ideal opportunity to use them.

So, anyway, we sat around drinking red wine and eating sweet potato fries that The Trucker had made to start (while the lasagne cooked). I adore sweet potato. And then, when the lasagne was ready ... Oh. My. Word. Let me just say that I thought this meal was divine. Seriously. Loved it.

And for dessert, I'd peeled and sliced and frozen bananas the night before and he made peanut butter vegan ice cream, which I'd tried at home before ... this time was better.

Seriously, it was a pretty superb evening :)

On Saturday we did some admin. I needed to do some shopping ... but I find it depressing lately. I dunno if it's just me, but I can never find anything I'm even interested in trying on these days. I need a personal shopper. I was never one of those girls who went shopping with friends, so now that I need someone going "Oooh, try this on, it'll look perfect on you" I'm screwed. The Trucker tries, but he's really no good. Although he is *perfect* at shopping for himself. He'll just decide and go out and come back with what he wanted and more o_0 Although there are some shoes (which I definitely don't need more of, but somehow seem much easier than clothes) that I have my eye on ... mebbe after I get some birthday money :)

Anyway, then we collapsed at home (me feeling rather depressed about things) and then decided to pick ourselves up with an early dinner at The Wolfpack. Early because I was told previously that you can't make a booking on a weekend and if you arrive at about 6pm you should be able to get a table. It is not that easy, let me tell you. But The Trucker and I did find a secluded spot at the bar slightly outside and ordered some drinks. Oooh, I am loving this Dragon Fiery Ginger Beer! I also tried an Old Tom Robinson (with chocolate) which wasn't bad, but a bit heavy for me ... shoulda had the Claren's Cherry Cider, but I thought I'd try something new.

And then the dinner. Wow. Yep, we'll be going back ;) I had serious order envy and could not make up my mind ... but I went with their Chicken and Brie Burger (I'd try the Ostrich next time, it was my toss up option ... I wouldn't have the chicken again I don't think. Tasty but average). The Trucker had the Big Bad Wolf. Wow. I had a bite, hence my order envy! Haha.

And the sides !! We decided to be creative. I had the Polenta fries which come with creme fraiche and strawberry something or other. It was delish, but I'm not so sure about the polenta frie bit. The Trucker had the Wasabi Onion Rings. Oh. My. Word. So good. And, most impressive ... I've never run out of the food before the sauce. So that was good, in my books.

Delish! Then we took a stroll down the road and back looking for some potential dessert, but didn't find anything that piqued our interest so we headed home. And since it was still early, we watched Captain Phillips. Yoh. That was hectic. There was a lot of Wikipedia-ing going on while we watched. I'm glad that piracy seems to be curbed at the moment. It seems such a crazy thing o_0 People continue to amaze and disappoint. Sometimes we think we're all so civilised and advanced with our iPhones and internet and what not ... but there are parts of the world where people are as cruel to each other as thruout history. We haven't really come that far. It just sorta blows my mind sometimes.

On Sunday we took the scooter out for breakfast and then did our grocery shopping before I headed to @queenbern 's with @mkrates for a visit. She has two new cute little bunnies, so how could we resist :) What a great afternoon catch up! Wine, pizza, cupcakes, easter eggs ... and bunnies! Haha. Was lovely.

When I got home, The Trucker and I spent the evening clearing thru more stuff. Time is running out to get the Guest Room usable ;) Haha.

Anyhoo, this is going to be a very busy 4 day week! I think we're only home for dinner tonight ... And then on Friday (can't wait!) we're off on our holiday. Gonna be awesome :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nothing Much

Hmmm, so as you can imagine, the rest of this week has been much quieter than Monday!

The little bunny is happily in his new home, so I feel better about the decision I made. Hard tho, even when you know it's the right one. My two have gone back to their normal selves. Damn, Smudge is just about the cutest boytjie! Every morning I get lots of bunny licks from him (I think one of the others did this very rarely when still young, Rex, maybe? But Smudge does it daily!). And he's got such lovely fur and let's me pick him up, although he does get annoyed. It's not quite on par with Lily's annoyance - haha. Amazing how different each little character is.

Anyway, I've just really been trying to appreciate them this week after upsetting the apple cart on Monday ;)

On Tuesday I went to Boot Camp but skipped SCM. We were supposed to have dinner plans for Thursday, but they got postponed to next week. So it's been fairly quiet in our house this week. Lots of Walking Dead, haha.

I'm sure there was some other stuff I meant to write about, but I've forgotten now. This week has absolutely dragged! But, this time next week I'll officially be on holiday for 2 weeks and no doubt we'll still be in bed before we have to pack for our train trip! Can't wait.

Oh, but super disappointing news yesterday ... the Kirstenbosch Boomslang Tree Canopy Walkway won't be open in time for us to squeeze in a visit. Sad face. Oh well ... next time.

Sheesh but it is getting cold in the mornings now hey?

Oh, and did I mention I've become marginally obsessed with Good Reads in the last week? So I signed up ages ago but never really got into it. But for some weird reason last week I decided to upload all my blog book reviews and I was hooked. So far all it's doing tho is adding to my lengthy list of Books To Read - haha. If you're on there, add me ;)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Shew well yesterday was an interesting day that I didn't see coming!

So, as you may know, my birthday is coming up later this month ... we'll be spending it in Addo this year, actually. And our office does very cool birthday celebrations, where 2 people get assigned to you to arrange your day. Sometimes this goes well and I've seen some very special days planned. Sometimes it's a bit of a dud (often when random people who don't know you well are assigned to you). But mostly everyone gets a little bit of singing, cupcakes and made to feel special ... so I think it's a pretty amazing way for a company to handle colleagues birthdays. It's one of my favourite things we do here.

You won't believe some of the things we've had. Yes, someone has hired a stripper before. Someone's desk was turned into a Sangoma shack for a day. Someone else's desk was turned into a space ship. Crazy and amazing things. And who can forget that singing bunny I got last year!

Anyway, I had warned the organisers, not knowing who my fairies were obviously, that I'll be away for a week before and after my birthday ... can't imagine someone going thru the effort and then you're not back for a week or something o_0

And out of the blue I was called to a meeting downstairs ... you can imagine that birthday celebrations were not on my mind, being 19 days in advance. But that's just what happened!

And they got me a little bunny! A live bunny. Shew. They did also get me a Sorbet Pedicure voucher and cupcakes :) But a live bunny. They didn't know I already had two, they thought I still only had one.

Shame man. This tiny thing is sooo cute. A grey Angora Dwarf, I'd say. I felt for sure The Trucker would say an outright no. I sent him a pick of my holding the tiny thing saying "Look what I got for my birthday" Haha.

He didn't say no. He said "What's one more?".

I ummed and ahhed and cooed over the tiny thing all day with a stream of visitors to my desk and not much work going on. I decided to take it home to see how the rest of the menagerie would react.

But I had giant reservations. Lily took so long to bond with Smudge. There was nothing easy about that process at all. It was stressful and exhausting for 3 weeks. It was a lot of time and effort and exasperation from me. But worth it in the end, without doubt. There is nothing better than bunnies being friends :)

And then there was Gypsy. How would she react to this tiny furball? And we're going away in less than 2 weeks ... for 2 whole weeks.

But I took the little thing home. I put him in the cage top, let him munch some grass and let them discover him for themselves. It took quite a while. They were too busy playing on the other side of the garden. But let me tell you when they realised he was there, all hell broke loose.

Lily and Smudge started attacking each other again. Smudge seemed to like the new one, not trying to bite or attack him thru the bars. But Lily was definitely unimpressed and stressing out and wanted it gone.

What could I do? We don't have the time to try and adjust this little one to life at our house with our two before we go away. They are so much bigger than him! And we were just talking this weekend about the puppy again ... June. Smudge is big enough & well settled now, and we won't be away for a while so will have time.

A new bunny? We decided not to keep him. It is heart breaking. But I know he's going to a home he'll be loved in. One of my Birthday Fairies has a son who was sad to see this little one go yesterday morning. He is in for an awesome surprise when his dad brings him home again this evening :)

Shew. What an emotional rollercoaster.

And in other news, we bought a scooter. I know, right? It's been on the cards for a while. Petrol prices and all ... but The Trucker found an amazing deal, he does sniff those out particularly well. We went for a quick spin yesterday afternoon. Fun. Reminds me of being on holiday ;) I'll have to learn to ride it myself now! Exciting stuff.

Oh, and he hung that washing line. Shew it seems too small now! But it's up and we hung our first load and that's also pretty cool in the house department ;)

At least it wasn't all sad news yesterday.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Weekend Well Done

Shew. What a lovely full weekend we had. It wasn't all sunshine and roses. There was a pretty epic fight but we muddled thru it and came out the other side :)

We didn't do anything on Friday evening, stayed in and got stuck into True Detective, finally. I knew it was gonna be a good one and that The Trucker would enjoy it, but it took him a while to get into ... considering we watched the first 3 episodes over a whole month and then the last 5 in 2 days, that says something.

We've moved onto Walking Dead s04 now ... had to give myself a month with no zombie dreams before we went back to that show - haha.

On Saturday we headed out to do some admin and have some breakfast before going to the Da Vinci exhibition (R140 for adults, showing in Joburg until the 22 June).

Hmmm. I don't think that The Amazing Place is all that amazing. It's tucked away in a weird little part of Woodmead. They had parking at an extra R20 (We were there maybe an hour?) so everyone just parked in the little entrance road. Dumb. I heard such great things about the Cape Town venue, being as much a part of the experience as the exhibition itself. Anyway, the exhibition itself ...

It was pretty cool. And I'm glad I went and I think it's good to go and see. It was smaller than I expected (compared to the Body Worlds exhibition). I didn't get the audio guide (R40), but The Trucker did. You can actually share them and they did tell us that, so that was cool. I did end up borrowing it in the Mona Lisa section, but didn't feel like I missed out without it. But he thought it was good.

Yeah, so we wandered thru. The bits you can actually touch and play with are cool. It is very interesting. The man was so prolific and it's quite incredible to see how he was thinking about things so long before they ended up a reality. I often wonder these days what there is left to invent o_0

Anyway, The Last Supper bit was a giant disappointment. But I found the Mona Lisa bit quite fascinating. Seeing her real colours under all the varnish. Yeah, all pretty interesting and cool to see, but I'm not sure I'd go a second time (like @benguela is planning after he saw it first in Cape Town).

After that we went and did some random shopping. I am still on the hunt for my hanging ceramic planters ...I have had zero luck finding anything remotely close! And then we had a lazy afternoon and evening at home. I wasn't feeling great, to be honest.

And after our fairly lazy Saturday, we had a mammoth Sunday. Out to breakfast at The Culinary Table, where we bought a fair amount from their deli too! I reckon we'll be back to try a few other offerings on their menu too. This time I had their Savoury Belgian Waffle (R45 with Bacon, Syrup and Goats cheese), yumyum. The Trucker had their Eggs Benedict (R74) and said he thought it was the best he'd ever had!

Be warned tho, their coffees are small and The Trucker had 3! I had their freshly squeezed orange juice which was amazing!

After that it was off to Builders to return the bits and bobs that hadn't been used during the renovation and to buy our new washing line. We had an afternoon of DIY planned.

And then it was grocery shopping and we squeezed in a visit to the new Rosebank Finders Keepers market, still on a quest for those hanging planters o_0 Eep, we realised we only have one weekend left till we go away! I figured there was a good chance of finding a potter there ... but nope. Sheesh Rosebank is undergoing some massive changes. Has been ages since I was last there.

The market isn't great, it's quite tiny honestly. And there were no potters. But I had bribed The Trucker with his first Joburg Burger King to get him to agree to going, so he was still happy :) Sheesh. That place has been open almost 2 months and it is still queuing out the door! The service is iffy, but considering how busy they are I'm not really surprised.

And then it was home to get cracking on the DIY. Unfortunately we didn't have the right bolts for the washing line, so hopefully that'll go up today ... Some more of our pictures got hung, so it's feeling even more like home ;) We realised we have less than 2 weeks to upgrade the Guest Room to useable for someone to come and house sit while we're away - haha. So after that there was a lot of sorting and clearing. I went thru a giant box I'd been carting around with me, probably since I moved to or from Varen's place o_0 A lot went in the donation bag and a lot got thrown away. Things I've had since I was 21. That is a long time ago now!

And I cleaned the bunny hutch. We went to get some half price sushi at The Mariner for dinner. It's not great sushi but in my books half-price sushi is miles better than all you can eat sushi. Sunday was jam-packed and full to the brim!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Entertaining Americans

Well, it's been an okay sort of week. Fairly blue. But my neck is feeling mostly better. Thank goodness! It does have the occasional twinge of sensitivity, but I have full range of movement and whatnot. Definitely a plus in my book.

I went to SCM on Tuesday and then last night we took @autumnal_akika's in-laws to dinner. They're out from the States and had a brief 3 night stop in Joburg before heading to Phinda and then down to Cape Town to visit them.

We decided to use 2 of our Entertainer vouchers and take them to BiCE in Hyde Park to get a good view of the sunset. Which we pretty much missed entirely. Luckily it was so clear and beautiful last night that the glow along the horizon lasted for ages and we really enjoyed it.

Sheweee. Cocktails are expensive there. Unnecessarily so, I feel. I mean a Strawberry Daquiri for R70. I can sort of tolerate a R45 cocktail. But (and I assume it's the expensive alcohol you're paying for, or are they importing the strawberries?) who needs anything that expensive going into a cocktail where you can't even taste the alcohol. Wasted on me, that's for sure. But delish, none the less.

We moved into the main restaurant for dinner. We shared their Fritto di Calamari, Zucchine e Funghi con Salsa Piccante e Salsa Tartara (Deep-Fried Baby Falkland Calamari with Zucchini, Mushrooms, Chili and Tartar Sauce, R75) to start. It was an absolutely massive portion and even shared we didn't finish it. It was very tasty tho (aside from those pesky mushrooms - haha). But for that price surely you could get enough sauce to last thru the entire portion, but whatevs.

For mains, I had their Ravioli di Ricotta e Spinaci al Profumo di Tartufo (Homemade Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli served on a Crispy Parmesan Basket with Black Truffles, R140). I'm kinda amazed when their vegetarian dish is more expensive than their prawn one, but I guess it was the Black Truffles (a sufficient portion, I thought).

I quite liked my pasta. I did think it was a little undercooked tho. But when coupled with pieces of the parmesan basket and truffle and sauce, the flavour was superb. And although their starters seem particularly large (again, unnecessarily so, in my opinion), their mains are a neat little portion that was quite manageable for all of us.

And dessert, well who could resist their Cioccolatissimo (Soft Chocolate Soufflé served with Vanilla Ice Cream, R65) ... well no one but The Trucker who tried their Torta di Mele della Nonna BiCE con Gelato alla Cannella (Classic BiCE Apple Pie Served with Cinnamon Ice Cream, R50) which was massive! I didn't try the pie, but the cinnamon ice cream was quite cool :) My souffle was good, the only down side was we'd ordered two and one came with the apple pie & coffees and one arrived after we were almost finished eating. So that was a little bit of a #fail.

The service was good and I think it was a great choice to take our overseas guests. Not sure I'd go back on my own again tho.

As a plus tho, as we were getting up to leave our table, @autumnal_akika's MIL realised she didn't have her handbag and we realised she must've left it at the table we'd started at outside on the deck when we were having drinks. I was a little nervous that they hadn't brought it to us in the restaurant if it'd been found, but we went back thru to the bar area and they had found it. But had taken it to the hotel reception. I gather no one was sure if someone had put it there to "keep the table" or if it had be forgotten so by the time they realised they didn't know who'd been sitting there.

Anyway, alls well that ends well and that really was the cherry on top of our evening :)

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived – and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details – proof they hope may free Ben – Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby's doomed family members – including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

To say I devoured this book would be an understatement. I am thoroughly enjoying Gillian Flynn's story-telling style.

Again, not completely unpredictable, but told in such a way that it really doesn't matter.Yip, read this. I think I enjoyed it even more than the last one! Look forward to getting my hands on Sharp Objects next :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

A brand new movie tie-in edition of the international Number 1 bestselling Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - a dark and dangerous paranormal romance... Read it before it hits cinemas in February 2014!

St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school - it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's - the very place where they're most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi - the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires - make Lissa one of them forever.

So I heard about this new YA Vampire series that was becoming a movie later this year and I figured it was worth a read. Always good to compare these things, I feel, especially since there has been such a spate of them over the last few years. This one seems different, although it did feel a little young (which is fair enough since it is aimed at a younger audience than I am, so will be well suited to them, but often you can't tell as obviously).

That said, it didn't detract from the book. It's a decent enough story, it has potential for the rest of the series and I like that so far it's got good strong girl characters (not the usual simpering pathetic ones aka Twilight). I think I will lend it to The Trucker's niece and see what she thinks :)

* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.
Read more here.

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