Festivities & Feathers

There is nothing quite like a birthday to make you feel special. Sunday was my actual birthday but I had a lovely celebratory weekend with time spent with my husband, my daughters and their fellas as well as a girly morning with my bestie and my daughters. My only regret was that my son and his partner Amber could not come down but Amber has been working away and only got home this weekend. Hopefully I can see them soon.

We started off on Saturday at Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia. It is a stunning relatively new wine farm with both a wine tasting venue as well as a restaurant.


Caitlin’s beau Wesley joined us.


Josh had a business meeting in Simon’s Town and by the time he arrived back to Hout Bay we were finished and he missed our lunch.

Aren’t my daughters gorgeous?


The view is stunning from the vineyard, it looks out across the valley.

The way it works is that you pair up for Tapas for Two for R650 for the full menu. The Menu for Saturday is below, it changes depending on what is fresh and available locally but you cannot make choices – you get what is on the menu.

The food arrives in 3 servings as shown in the groupings below.


The first set of dishes all arrived at the same time.

The tuna was very tasty in this dish – there was a strong cumin flavour, but I love cumin. A lot of the dishes throughout the day contained cumin. I really liked this dish it was fresh but had a deep earthy taste.

Out of the first round of dishes, most of us preferred the skirt steak with the soft taco, it was my fave for sure. The steak was tender and the spices came through nicely.

The linefish sashimi dish had a strong vinegar taste from the pickling so was a bit too tart for a few of us but the fish was very tender and melted in your mouth.

Then after they cleared away the first round of plates, the 2nd serving arrived, a risotto and a tart. I was not looking forward to either as I detest pears and am so-so about risotto. But I was very pleasantly surprised as both of these dishes were delicious and the tart was so pretty with the edible flowers decorating it.

The risotto was perfectly cooked and creamy in texture, the little cheese croquettes were divine. I loved the crispy kale and the leeks were nice and soft but full of flavour.

The pastry on the tart was light and flaky and still crisp (I hate soggy pastry). The pears were soft and full of the flavours they were cooked in, the cheese and the pears were a gorgeous combination.

The third set of dishes arrived after they cleared the 2nd round of plates and gave us a few minutes to recover.

The fish was stunning, I think the nuts were a wee bit overpowering for the delicate fish. But it was nice and the fish was cooked perfectly.

I do not usually eat lamb as it is too fatty and too gamey for me, but I did taste the lamb rib tapas and it was nice. The flavours were lovely and the meat tender, it was just too fatty for my personal taste. The blokes loved this dish and they had all 3 of our portions to share between them.

The Blesbok was divine, tender and moist. I enjoyed this dish a lot. I loved the black garlic cream.


As it was a special lunch several of us ordered dessert.

I ordered the bon bons.

They were all very complicated flavour combinations. Here is the list of fillings.

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Norm and Wes both had the ice cream which came with a delicious slab of honeycomb. I love honeycomb but the ice cream sounded too complicated to me.

I thought the day was fabulous, the venue stunning, the service excellent, but I did find the food a wee bit pretentious. If I compare this meal to a meal from Foxcroft, just a few miles up the road, I would prefer Foxcroft. I also prefer Cheyne’s. However this venue gets extra points for the venue and view.

All in all I give Chef’s Warehouse 4.5 Kitten Stars.

We went home to digest and relax for the rest of the afternoon. Norm had a little snooze before he had to take the dogs for their walk. Caitlin and Wes had gone to visit his Grandmother who was having her 80th birthday celebration. Lily and I started watching a sweet little show called Atypical.

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It is predominately about Sam, a young lad who is on the autism spectrum. However it also touches on so many other family dynamics. I love Jennifer Jason Lee, I think she plays a great role in this series.

Later on in the evening we all started getting a bit peckish so we ordered sushi from K1 Sushi in Hout Bay.

It was fresh and lovely. I had salmon roses (as always) and bamboo rolls topped with prawn.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, the girls and I got up early as we had booked to go to Clay Cafe in Hout Bay. My bestie Retha came to meet us.

They have a lovely venue at Clay Cafe where you can go to paint pottery. There is a playground for the kiddies and they do meals or pastries. It is a large warehouse with lots of tables.

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You choose your paint colours and your accent colours and the piece of pottery you want to paint. We chose 6 plates and 1 coffee mug for us all to paint.

First we all had breakfast. They serve their eggs benedict on a slice of sweet potato instead of a muffin or bread so it was low carb yet delicious. My eggs were perfectly cooked.

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Then after we finished our food we got stuck into painting. Your table has a number and you all paint it on the bottom so they know which item relates to which order when you come to collect it after they fire it in the kiln.

The girls are so artistic.

We had such fun.


Retha is a painting machine, she can usually do 2 items to my one item!

Caitlin painted a coffee cup for me, I chose the slogan to remind me to stay in the present.

I chose the colours turquoise, yellow and white for my 6 plates, I hoped to match my kitchen. I chose the theme of feathers to go with my Native American background. We all painted our own interpretations of feathers.

The top plate is a pic of Lily’s and the bottom 2 are mine. I chose 3 feathers in one of the plates I painted. This was to represent me and my 2 mini-me daughters. And yes I know those feathers look more like fish bones than feathers. Like many things, I love to paint but have rubbish skills.

Much like my photography.


And in this pic Caitlin’s plate is at the top and Retha’s 2 are at the bottom. I find it interesting that Retha and I did very similar drawings without referring to each other.

After we finished painting Retha headed off and the girls and I all had a slice of cake to celebrate my birthday. 

It was very moist and rather divine.

Josh came to collect Lily and they headed off home to Mossel Bay around 12.30. Caitlin dropped me at home and then went over to her flat to work on her renovations. Her new floors are being laid this week so she needs to get the ceilings and walls done.

When I walked in to our house I had a big bouquet of my favourite flowers and a mystery box awaiting me.

I ripped open the box to find that Norm had bought me the metal pig I had been coveting for months.

Then Norm and I just relaxed for a bit as it was a stunning sunny day. I sat by the pool in the shade and thought about how sad it makes me to leave this house.

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Later in the afternoon we drove over the mountain to Noordhoek to view some show houses. One of them was perfect for us on paper, but as we arrived in Noordhoek the agent rang to say they had just received a cash offer from a UK buyer and the house was pretty much off the market.

I was sad for a moment but then I refocused myself and thought that what is meant to be will be and got over it. We then saw a different house which we both loved that was on show. All it needs is a pool to be perfect and there is space to put one in. It has a large garden for the dogs. It’s all on one level. It is in our price range but I do not think I can bear the drive in each day to the city. It would add up to 2 hours MORE commute time to my day. I would be able to walk to the beach from the house but there is no view of the sea. If I am going to drive that far every day I want to come home to a stunning sea view.

We circled around the city and viewed a few houses in Tokai and Constantia. I saw one I loved but Norm thought it was poorly built. He called it Mr Bodgit’s house. So that is a no. He is very keen on the Noordhoek home but he does not have to commute as he works from home or he travels to the client.

This weekend we are going to explore the northern suburbs as houses are much cheaper there and I can take the bus into work.

We finished off my birthday by going for dinner at our fave Indian restaurant The Indian Oven. It was a lovely relaxed birthday weekend. I felt very blessed.

I have a lovely family.

Last night Norm shopped and started dinner and then I finished it as he had a work call. We baked chicken breasts and aubergines and steamed some broccoli. For a sauce over the chicken I fried some sliced mushrooms in butter, then removed them from the pan and fried some baby spinach and then pureed it. I added the sliced mushrooms back to the pan as well as a handful of cheddar cheese and a large dollop of fromage frais and gave it a good mix together. It was rather delicious.

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I have been rather sporadic with my low carb lifestyle for a few months and as a result have put about 4 kgs of weight back on. My knees are killing me and my legs feel full of fluid so I need to get back onto the low carb track.

Dinner tonight was ‘noodles’ made out of spinach topped with bolognaise.  All low carb, high fat. 


So far so good this week.

Wish me luck though, this kitten has no willpower at all.

Kisses from the Birthday Kitten. xoxoxoxo

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The Spokeswoman 

The week started off so gorgeous, so sunny and  hot! We had a lovely 27 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday was even hotter, allegedly hitting over 30 degrees. As I work in an air conditioned office I often have no clue what is going on outside. It’s like Antartica in my office, we freeze. 

I wondered will it finally stay warm, can I actually now move from boots to pumps? “Pumps” is another of those words which seems to mean a different thing in different countries.

In the US, a pump is a sexy, closed heel.


In South Africa a pump is flat.


I get so confused. Maybe it means both? Since my hip replacement I can no longer wear heels. I miss them, I never feel properly dressed up without a sexy pair of stilettos.

But it’s been so many years since I wore heels it would be hilarious to watch I’m sure. 

And then Thursday arrived and in typical Cape Town fashion,  I reverted back to boots as it was storming so badly it sounded like the house was going to blow in when I was getting ready for work. Once I got into the city the heavens opened and as well as icy cold wind and drizzle it started pouring giant splodges of rain. I have a long walk and I just zipped my jacket and put on my hood and plodded and splashed across town, dodging people running and went to my office. It’s impossible to use an umbrella in Cape Town.

I looked like a drowned rat when I got to work. I shook off and put what bits of me I could manage under the hand dryer. At least my thighs got dry in front and the back of me didn’t get as wet as I was walking into the downpour. 

drowned-rat

But that is Cape Town for you! Crazy daisy weather.

On Monday evening I had a phone call from Washington from a woman from Democrats Abroad asking if I had submitted my ballot. When I told her I hadn’t registered before I emigrated and that I left the US so many years ago that I can’t even remember my last address or Social Security number in order to register she said she would see what she can do. Maybe I can vote after all! That would be fab to vote against the Donald. I never answer my phone, the fact I answered an unknown US number is a real exception.

I then received an email from someone and she was zero help, suggesting I ‘figure out how to open the pdf’ that I told her wouldn’t open. Gosh why didn’t I think of that! She sent a link to a website which provided no guidance at all. So I’m back to square one, unable to register without proof of tons of info from 30 years ago. I’ve moved over 40 times, no chance will I know an address from when I lived in LA! Bugger.

I cannot face another president coming into the mix where I am going to be quizzed on ‘WTF is America thinking??’ every time a random stranger hears my Yank accent. I had to endure this for all of the years that Bush was ineptly banging around the White House. I cannot explain how a moron gets elected. I assume it is by the support of other morons but I am not the International American spokeswoman on moronic behaviour. And no I also cannot explain what is going on with the blatant murder of blacks by police in America. I am as horrified by these recurring deaths as anyone – I cannot explain it to others. But still I get quizzed. Luckily I’ve been out of the US and lived so many places my accent is a hodge podge. I escape scrutiny on occasion. 

Meanwhile life goes on. 

This week was over in a heartbeat because I was so busy. 

Norm was working on Monday evening so Caitlin and I ordered a Thai cafe order for home delivery. But as we took so long to make a plan then had to await the delivery dude, it was very late by the time we ate and it was time for bed soon after we finished.

As a result of having no leftovers, the next day I decided to take some smoked salmon to work for lunch so I walked to Food Lovers Market and visited the salad bar and made up a simple salad but they had no ripe avos so I bought a tiny perfect avo at the corner shop for only R3 and I took it all back to the office kitchen to construct it. It went so nicely together. It also meant a nice midday stroll out  in the gorgeous sunshine.

The drama continues over the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng into yet another executive position after being deemed unfit to serve as the COO. Now several of the SABC board have resigned and the parastatal is in deep trouble. The blatant disregard by the ANC of the findings by the Public Protector had already led to some resignations but the latest shenanigans has resulted in the last few members who seemed ethical to finally jump ship. The company is in a mess as is everything the ANC touches, Mandela must be so disappointed.

The medical infrastructure is barely functioning.  The incompetencies in the hospitals mean you don’t want to get injured in an accident. If you go for surgery where you select the hospital and surgeon yourself then you are generally ok. But you don’t want to be injured and especially not out in the remote areas.

Norm has started with getting the kitchen prepped for the renovation project. He has packed up a lot. 

We had a moment of panic this week when we rang to check progress with the company we paid to produce the cupboards and discovered the guy whom we were dealing with no longer works there. OK, to be perfectly honest, in reality I panicked and Norm just regretted telling me. 

He rang them the next day and confirmed that all was in order and the cupboards would be ready on Monday the 10th as planned. However as things often pan out, when Norm followed up with the painter she said that she wanted to get a full sized door to use as the demo piece for approval. When she drove to the site to collect a door they showed her one which was the wrong design! She had heard the whole story directly from me about the design so she agreed with them that they would pay her for the doors and she will produce and paint them! Thank goodness for the painter who seems so switched on. She should have a sample available on Monday for us to approve. I’m excited beyond measure. 

Norm has started chipping away at the tiles.

Meanwhile on Facebook, one of my Mom’s friends posted some of the cutest pics from January 1992. This is me and my children a year and a half after moving from LA to South Africa.

Caitlin would have been 3, Lily just turned 1 and Trevor was 5. So tanned and golden. Like a negative of them now, they never go in the sun and have dark or black hair. 

How did I have 3 children under 5 and have painted nails?  This was Africa, there were no nail salons. 

Norm is on a mission to grow his own tomatoes. His seeds have sprouted.


 His mom always had a load of her own tomatoes, as did my Grandmother. There is nothing better. I was not thinking properly as we chose rosa tomatoes which I love, but if we had planted large tomatoes we could have had fried green tomatoes, I miss those! 

I found this low carb recipe on a blog I want to try: Low carb fried green tomatoes.


The #FeesMustFall protesting is still going on with the university students. The University where Lily attended was full of chaos on Thursday. The protesters threw human feces at the police and in return the police fired rubber bullets. The government have sat firmly on the fence proving ineffective at controlling the situation.

I worked on 4 different projects this week, doing data analysis, project planning, created a presentation and reviewed someone’s document so it was varied and the week flew by. 

Caitlin flew to Johannesburg for a few weeks leaving on Thursday evening. It was unfortunate that Norm had work and they both were away. 

Early Friday morning Norm also flew away to speak at an event. Here he is having dinner with the parents of SA Gold medalist Wade van niekerk and SA Athletics officials. 

Meanwhile I was attending the launch of my friend Darryn Clark’s new location for his business Time Menders with my friend Annie. Darren is an artisan who makes and repairs clocks. It’s a stunning venue full of classic cars, bikes and various bits of Americana and memorabilia. 


It is a fabulous space with good clear energy. Some of those old spots can have a lot of bad juju hanging around. I hope it’s going to be a successful venture. They want a pseudo Biscuit Mill vibe with a coffee shop and maybe restaurant or cafe but with artisans occupying the stalls not just selling the usual same old tat you see at so many markets. 

In typical SA fashion, the blokes stayed round the fire and the women all sat comfortably round the lounge area and didn’t mingle. Of course we did talk about menopause and abusive men all night soooooo I can’t blame the blokes really. It was a man free zone.

We went very early and so we left early too and got home by 8 as I wanted to go spend time with Lily and Josh who had arrived just after I got home from work. I was so glad I wasn’t on my own that night. The wind picked up again and the rain was intermittent. The garden is loving it. 

Saturday it again poured with rain in the morning and we woke to overcast misty mountains.

I had a lazy day on Saturday and Lily and Josh were off to the track for training on Josh’s bike. He is racing next week so they are coming back again. Norm flew home from Bloemfontein late yesterday afternoon. 

I wanted to cook something for dinner but we had nothing much in the fridge and I was too cozy to shop.  I thawed out a bag of frozen raw prawns. I fried 3 small peppers, red, yellow and orange, 4 red Birdseye chillis, an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. I then added a bag of chopped butternut. I added double cream, coconut cream, 2 cups chicken broth and 2 tins chopped tomato. I flavored with chili powder, cumin, fresh coriander and paprika. I let it simmer until the butternut was soft then used the hand blender to make it all smooth. I cleaned and tailed the prawns and cut them into small pieces and washed them and added to the soup. I then added provolone to a sheet of baking paper and cooked til bubbly.

I topped the soup with fresh cream and chopped cilantro to serve. The provolone ‘crackers’ added a bit of crunch.


That soup was to die for. So much flavor and bite. Mucho caliente baby. We just relaxed the rest of the evening, I was happy to have Norm home. The animals were cozy too.

Lily and Josh drove back this morning and Norm and I headed out to do errands. It was sunny but there was a bit of chill in the air. My flowers were looking for the sun.


We went to Hirsch’s and bought a stainless steel extractor hood to go with our new cooker.


That is another thing sorted. We tried to find lighting and a bar fridge but no luck.

We were starving by the time we left the shop so we went to Mugg & Bean for a bite to eat. I had the Cobb salad.

Norm had the low carb Eggs Benedict. Instead of an English muffin it had mushrooms.


We did a shop for toiletries and bits and bobs at Clicks then decided to go to Constantia to do a big grocery shop, we were out of everything. On our way we spotted a huge fire. We never saw what was burning.


We then did a Pic n Pay shop for basics, then got our meat and veg at Woolworths. 

Norm walked the dogs and we relaxed a bit then we made dinner together.

We stuffed chicken breasts with spinach and marscapone then baked it. It was soooo tender. 


To go with we made mushrooms, gem squash and steamed cauliflower. 

The weekend has flown by, tonight we are watching Creed, the Sunday movie. Tomorrow my car goes in for a service so I am working from home and then in the afternoon I am at the dentist for the second phase of my root canal treatment. Hopefully it won’t hurt as much. 

I get to see my painted sample cupboard door tomorrow, I’m so excited! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Xxx