Endings & Beginnings

I started this blog weeks ago but due to the ongoing challenges with images and space I have not had much enthusiasm to write, but now with it being the first day of 2018 I am feeling inspired. I will try to just hit the highlights and not keep you here for hours, but still you should probably grab a cuppa and pull up a comfy seat.

First of all I want to wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2018. I hope it brings you both of those things, the most important of all.

As is to be expected at the end of the year I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, reviewing the past year and thinking about what I want to manifest in my life for this new year. I have been thinking about the type of people I want around me and what directions I want to take my personal growth as those two elements are intrinsically linked. You either surround yourself with people who lift you up and challenge you to be the best you can be, or you choose people who drag you down to their level. I want to surround myself with those who lift me up and keep me positive.

You know how some people’s personalities are initially off putting and later as you get to know them you actually like the person underneath and realise that was just a veneer? Then there are also those who have an initial veneer of appearing to be one thing and then once you have had enough contact with them that veneer rubs off and you see the real person lurking underneath and you are no longer fooled? Or those people you have warning flags about but ignore those feelings and later realise those original instincts were valid.

As we get older or wiser we start to see through that shimmer easier and sometimes even sooner. Or maybe we start to trust our intuition and listen to the niggles of distrust.

This year I want to tap more into that intuition and listen to those messages.

We also want to have people around to the house more often. Life is so busy we just don’t take the time but I intend to change that, our house is perfect for entertaining and I want to make use of it before we move. We have so many special people in our lives who we only see on occasion and I want to make a point of engaging those people more.

Conversely, I am also thinking about those fake friends in my life who are either never available or who cancel at the last minute. Those people have shown me over and over that I do not matter or that other friends are more important to them.

My priorities are going to change and I will follow my instincts about people who make me uneasy and I will not fool myself about people’s cavalier approach to my feelings. As a Virgo I often appear much tougher than I am. I want to try and expose that vulnerability. I am not very good at expressing myself verbally, I can write and tell you exactly my feelings but verbally I am dreadful at communicating. That discomfort makes me prickly and awkward, I am going to try and face that discomfort and speak my heart openly.

I am a rather determined person. This can be both a negative and a positive in that I can range from obstinate to pig headed. Actually there is no glimmer of a positive with either of those descriptions is there? If you want to spin it however and you need something done, I’m your girl.

One positive outcome of my determined nature is that I have investigated many options for my media issues on my blog. I finally decided to go old school and use Photobucket. I first used the site when I blogged on MySpace! I have been blogging on various sites for so many years, I can’t imagine not blogging. When I retire I hope to write a book, but that’s another show Jerry!

However after spending ages setting up a new account (as I have no idea what email I used on my original photobucket account) I discovered that you can only embed 5 pics from photobucket to a 3rd party site for free.

Back to square one. For now I will just use my IG posts so you have to deal with my hashtags and people’s comments and all that malarkey. Sorry.  I just resent having to pay to write.

Anyway, I will try and catch you all up on our lives. I have still been on holiday, I am in my final week. I have this week left and then I am back to the same client as last year. The weather has been mostly fabulous. We even got a random drop or two of rain.

Josh and Lily left to go back to Mossel Bay just before Christmas. Norm and I have just been pottering about since I have been on holiday. Norm went to meet some of the fellas for year end drinks on the Wednesday before Christmas and before he went he set up a lounger and sun brolly for me and removed the pool cover.

I settled in and relaxed in the heat. Then the wind picked up and started rocking the whole umbrella stand so I decided to collapse it. I had to climb about in the garden and managed to scrape my leg quite badly on a rusty pole.

I felt quite sorry for myself but I messaged a pic of my bloody wounds to the family group and went to watch another holiday movie (I must have watched a dozen Christmas movies these past few weeks).

About half an hour later Norm comes rushing in to the house very concerned as my phone was off and he could not get hold of me. I told him I was fine but my phone had crashed and once he discovered I wasn’t lying dead in the garden from a hemorrhaging leg wound off he went to join the guys. Then I googled ‘tetanus’ and started to be convinced my jaw was getting stiff and I was having palpitations but of course that was ridiculous.

The GP saw me first thing the following morning and the injection wasn’t even sore! I had built it up in my head to be so sore, I think I must have been thinking about a rabies injection. Silly me.

For being such a brave little soldier Norm took me for breakfast afterwards to Nutmeg Farm Stall at Earthworks Nursery. After lunch I bought some cacti for Caitlin for Christmas.

To be safe I put them in the floor between my feet and we headed off home. En-route the tray fell over and the spines inserted themselves into my foot. When we got home Norm had to remove them with tweezers, I’m such a klutz sometimes.

That night we went to Constantia to Primi Piatti for dinner and as I was struggling with the heat we sat out in the Courtyard.

I had a strawberry daiquiri to cool me off.

To start we shared the calamari and the zucchini fries and for our main we both had the Filleto Ai Funghi which is basically fillet steak with mushroomy pepper sauce. The Pan Fried Calamari was described as: Soy, lemon and honey glazed calamari tossed with rocket and tomatoes and cost R79. We were not impressed with this dish in the least. The calamari was chewy and rubbery and there was minimal calamari, mostly salad. The zucchini fries were a bargain at R39 with a garlic aoili and they were very yummy.

For our steak which was described as ‘Flame-grilled fillet tournedos, served on potato with a mushroom, green peppercorn, mustard and brandy sauce’ we substituted butternut and sweet potato mash and reduced our carb intake a bit. We also ordered their spinach and parmesan as an extra side dish for R35. We had a lovely evening and the food was wonderful and lower in carbs than if we had their specialty of pizza or pasta.

On the Saturday before Christmas Norm and I drove down to the Garden Route where Lily and Trevor live. We were worried about traffic and wanted to leave at dawn, but Vanessa was house & doggy sitting and she only finished work at 3 so we had a slow morning packing and organizing things and finally got on the road about 1pm. We had minimal traffic and it was a pleasant journey. We stopped at a services and filled up the tank with petrol and got road snacks (or Padkos as they call it in SA) and I fed Norm tidbits of cheese, raw veggies, biltong and other healthy choices. We chatted the whole way and it was almost a pleasant journey. I even stayed awake! That never happens.

When we arrived at Lily and Josh’s flat we had a play session with the cutest Pekingese dogs which the neighbor owns. They are almost as cute as Pomeranians.

Almost.

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How cute is this pup?

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That night Lily, Josh, Norm and I went to the Cattle Baron for dinner. We had a really delicious meal of fillet steak and fries.

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My love 😍

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A few days after we had dinner there Josh realised he could not find his ray ban sunglasses. He traced the last time he wore them to that night and he rang the restaurant and they still had them! We collected them and I was so impressed at their honesty. That is a rare thing.

We were invited to Christmas day dinner at Jackie and Alistair’s and had said we would take some things to contribute too so Lily and I cooked the entire morning on Christmas Eve. We made 3 pans of cornbread and then made 2 of them into a large cornbread dressing. We baked 3 pecan pies and a chocolate sheet cake with fudge icing. When we finished cooking Lily, Norm and I headed to Wilderness to see Trevor and Amber. They had just eaten lunch and we were starving so we stopped at the Blue Olive to get a quick bite of lunch. They do tapas so we ordered prawns, mussels and calamari.

We then headed over to Amber’s mom Rose’s house and visited for a few hours with Trevor and Amber. Amber’s adorable little sister Sage was there as was her cousin Saskia and her cherubic little girl Olive. She is such a beautiful nice natured happy baby. We stayed until the sun was about to go down and Amber had to head home to start cooking for the next day so we headed back down the coast to Mossel Bay.

Christmas morning I woke at 6am as always and I tried to lie quietly until everyone got up. Eventually we were all gathered around the tree and we opened our gifts. We had all decided to keep it minimal this year, I normally spend thousands on each of my children but they are all working adults now and we are trying to be less wasteful and commercial so we just bought things we need or really want. Norm and I had large gifts for each other in Cape Town so we took pics of them and put them in envelopes to open. We did each have other things to open though and it took a while for all four of us to get through it all. I had got a large tool for Norm’s gift (a drill or drill press or something or other he wanted) and he had got the painting I posted previously by Ana Kuni.

I cannot tell you how much I adore this painting and how much I love having her hanging in my home. He also bought one of those mirrored jewelry cupboards for me which I have now filled with all of my jewelry.

After the gifts Josh popped over to wish his Dad a happy Christmas while we did the last bits of cooking and then came back to collect us and we all drove over to Josh’s Mom Jackie’s house in George. She had done an amazing job decorating the table and preparing heaps and heaps of delicious food.

We all settled in around the patio outside while it was cooking and Josh used his new Xmas present of a fancy bluetooth speaker to play us some fabulous background tunes in the form of Leon Bridges.

His voice is just amazing. It created a lovely relaxed laid back vibe.

We were called into dinner and we had saved ourselves the whole day and we were starving and heaped our plates up rather high. We all stuffed our faces with a ton of food. There was a pork roast, a lamb roast, 2 roast chickens, stuffing, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots and probably other stuff I have forgotten.

Then after gorging we moved back outside to the patio to play cards. We played a game called Spoons or Donkey. Everyone is dealt 4 cards and a spoon is put into the centre of the group for every person bar one. Your objective is to get 4 of a kind and when someone does everyone must quickly grab a spoon from the centre of the table and the person who does not get a spoon gets a black mark on their face from a burnt cork. The first person to get 6 black marks (one for each letter in D-O-N-K-E-Y) loses. It was such fun! I don’t mind losing but I hate having stuff on my face so I tried very hard but did not win. I lost a few hands as did most of us.

For a Xmas photo the whole group gathered for a post game pic, notice that everyone except Josh has black cork all over their faces. This photo makes me happy every time I look at it.

After a bit of cards we took a break for dessert and it was all yummy, but as I made all of it except for the bread and butter pudding it seems a bit braggadocios to say so.

But it was.

We played cards a bit more and we laughed so much at one stage that I was convinced I had popped a stitch from a surgery I had back in 2006. We were literally weeping with laughter.

Then later we had a cheese and fruit course which was equally as delicious as everything else Jackie and Bronwyn had made.

Eventually we decided we needed to go and get horizontal and we headed back to Mossel Bay. We watched the new Will Smith film Bright. It was very entertaining and I would give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

The next day we had a slow start as we had been very *ahem* “festive” all day (except for Lily our designated driver). Eventually we got up and moving and went off to meet Amber, Trevor, Saskia and Olive at Zucchini Restaurant at Timberlake near Wilderness. We had lunch, I had a rather mediocre calamari and then we had an amazing milkshake for dessert.

Afterwards we went around to Amber and Trevor’s house.

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Boxing Day with family

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We gave them their presents and we hung out there until it got dark and then headed home. We were all so tired so we had an early night as we were driving back the next day.

We got up early on the 27th and packed the car and hit the road early. We were again really lucky with traffic, it was busy but not ‘driving down the coast for Christmas’ busy and we made decent time. We got back to some very excited doggies and Vanessa gave us the keys and then she went off back to work. As much as I loved spending time with my kids there is nothing like your own bed and I was happy to be home.

We spent the afternoon pottering about the house and then at 7pm we went to Caitlin’s flat to take her presents to her. Afterwards we ordered pizza and salad and had dinner there but she was as tired as we were and it was an early night. The rest of the week was spent relaxing and doing not much of anything. My poor tired body needed that as did my soul.

It was rather hot on Friday evening so we decided to go to dinner at Papino’s in Hout Bay.

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It is so hot 🤒

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We both ordered our favourite meal there, the Hollandse Biefsteak.

On Saturday we went out for lunch and it was so crazy hot that it was difficult to function. We ran our errands and did a shop and headed home to cool off in the pool. Later that evening Caitlin and Wes came for dinner and Norm and Wes braaied some gorgeous steaks and chicken kebabs. Caitlin and I made salads and other bits to go with it. It was all rather scrumptious. We sat outside to try and keep cool.

Sunday was Hogmanay and we were really looking forward to an evening of special food and getting a bit dressed up for a change.

We had booked to go to one of our favourite restaurants, Foxcroft in Constantia. They had a special on for New Years. There were six courses on offer for R1400 p/person. We booked an Uber and were pleasantly suprised that it was less than R70 for the journey. We arrived and settled in and they brought us a complimentary glass of bubbles. They explained the menu and took our orders for the dishes which you could choose.

The first course was the bread: Potato sourdough with salsa verde butter and black olive.

Second was the amouse bouche which was served rather charmingly in an egg shell. It was a broccoli parfait with a strong cheese flavour.

Really gorgeous.

The 3rd course was a choice of yellowtail tuna tataki or springbok tartare and we both chose the tuna. The tuna was served with avocado labneh, cucumber and a rice puff.

The 4th course was a Turnip Gratin: roast onion, capers, lemon thyme and Parmesan. It was so tasty! It sounded rather unimpressive, especially as I detest capers however they were fried til crispy and were delish. The gratin was ever so tasty.

Next we had to choose between a quail dish or a dish of sweetbreads. I had heard the sweetbreads were to die for but the whole concept of eating organs put me off too much to be that adventurous. We both opted for the honey glazed Treadstone quail which came with 2 tiny breasts and a ickle bitty drumstick. They described it as rhubarb, candied pecan and liver jus. That description might not grab you but this was one delicious course indeed. The quail is less strident in flavour than duck and has a soft buttery texture and we both really enjoyed this dish.

The next dish we had to choose between pork or line fish. The line fish said it was done with caramelized fennel, leeks, chorizo and mussels. They almost had me at mussels except the line fish was hake. Is hake a line fish? Regardless, it sounded too pedestrian for the price we paid and we both opted for the pork. The pork was a brilliant choice. It was described as Oak Valley Pork: gem squash puree, fermented plum, charred cabbage and smoked pork jus. There were 3 different types of pork and all were amazing, but the pork belly was absolute heaven.

There were 2 desserts to choose from and we both opted for the compressed strawberry. It came with lemon curd, geranium, sour cream and matcha.

Afterwards we had a cappucino to go with the petit fours. There was a passionfruit macaron and a delicious marshmallow treat. They were the perfect ending to an amazing meal.

We had 2 different couples sit next to us throughout the night. The first 2 were women and were from Ireland. We had a lovely long chat to them. The next couple were German and wanted us to recommend a bottle of local bubbly. It was nice having people in Cape Town be friendly, trust it to be because they were tourists!

We finished up and called for an uber and headed home. We noticed driving in to the neighbourhood that there were cars parked all along the road and thought it was people having parties. Once we were home we could hear what sounded like a really large group of people singing and then the next thing we hear is the radio saying that the police were needed to break up a fight. Norm put Navajo’s lead on him and they set off to see if they could assist the police and security people. They were gone for ages and then I realised it was time for the countdown to midnight and Norm was nowhere to be seen. I then thought that seemed like bad luck to ring in the NY on our own and burst into big sloppy sobbing wine sozzled tears. Norm came flying through the door at 12.02 to find me blubbing and could not figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I finally managed to tell him what was going on and he calmed me down and he explained what was going on up the hill and how he had been busy dealing with 300 drunken teenagers. A girl in our street had planned a party on Facebook and sold entry tickets. Her parents started to get concerned too late to do anything effective to deal with it. There were kids staggering all around the neighborhood, drunk and high and full of teenage angst. There were several fights and plenty of broken bottles and shouting and people passed out in the street or sick in the bushes. Eventually the police managed to clear the melee and get people to go home.

Norm and I decided to stay up to ring in the bells on UK time which is at 2am SA time and then we got the chance to celebrate and count down together. We took up a bottle of wine and some amarula and got into bed and watched the UK fireworks and everything on telly. It was quite cozy.

In the end that is all that matters, that we spend it with people we love or with those friends who care for us.

I have had an amazing holiday, restful, fun, exciting and relaxing, it was everything I needed. I had special time with all of my children and I had plenty of time to spend with my darling hubby. I could not ask for more.

Happy New Year everyone.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxo

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