This past weekend I went road tripping to Polokwane with a few friends to visit another friend who recently moved there. It was a lovely weekend. Everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed!
Hans, Robyn, Simon and I headed out early on Friday afternoon and Hans insisted on a selfie of the four of us before the start of our holiday.
The drive was uneventful other than a little bit of traffic as we hit Polokwane. As we were going to arrive in the early evening we decided to meet Kirsty and her boyfriend Dave at the cottage we’d booked for the weekend rather than delay our arrival with meeting them at their place first. Our 6 sleeper, self-catering cottage was at Stanford Lake Lodge, situated a little outside Polokwane. It was so peaceful and had the most amazing view of the dam that I would definitely go back!
Since we were all a little lazy that Friday evening, and we’d all brought so much food, we decided that dinner would be a selection of snacks – biltong, crackers, cheese, chips, cold meats, and cream cheese followed by my homemade brownies and a delectable milk tart ice-cream that Kirsty found. The relaxed atmosphere had us chatting and eating and drinking until all hours of the morning. We also dragged a few blankets outside to lie under the stars and take in the beauty of night sky.
Saturday started with a short walk in our pyjamas to view the lake, get some fresh air, and take some pics. We then had a lazy breakfast before getting ready to start our day’s adventures.
We all piled into one car and headed to the Canopy Tour in the Magoebaskloof mountains. I roped Robyn and Hans into doing the canopy tour with me since it was one of my items to-do this year. The others went off on an adventure of their own while the three of us enjoyed two hours of adrenalin, views, heights, and fun. (More on this soon.)
After our adventure we all came back together and headed to Kings Walden. What a breathtaking place! The gardens are magnificent and speak of a time when you would throw huge garden parties for your friends and family and dance the night away. They speak of love and romance. They speak of believing in secret gardens and discovering hidden treasures.
If the gardens weren’t enough, the property has the most amazing view too. The main feature, which is just too beautiful for words, is an enormous blue gum tree that was struck by lightning many years ago and now stands white and dramatic against the rolling hills. I would probably give all my sexy shoes to own such a romantic, gorgeous place like this!
We headed back to the cottage after taking in the sunset and had a delicious braai. We were all quite exhausted from the late night the evening before and the day’s adventures so we didn’t stay up too late. Even though we could barely keep our eyes open, Robyn and I still made sure to lie under the stars again – enjoying the sight of the Milky Way, counting shooting stars and chatting about everything and anything.
A beautiful morning greeted us on Sunday! Again we went out in our pyjamas to take in the sunrise over the lake. How gorgeous is this view? I just love the reflection of the trees in the lake’s surface and the way the rays of sunlight reach out to caress everything.
It was a little chillier than Saturday morning so we headed back to our cottage to enjoy the view from the patio bundled under blankets with cups of steaming coffee in our hands.
We decided to have a lazy, hearty brunch at the cottage and use up some more of the food we’d packed instead of rushing to get ready and pack and then have lunch on the road. It was the best decision! While Kirsty cooked us a delicious breakfast, Hans, Dave and I took a little stroll down to the edge of the lake. By the time we came back, food was ready to go and we just needed to set the table.
Brunch was relaxed and we tried to eat as much as possible and not waste the deliciousness. We even went so far as to have dessert afterwards which consisted of mini pancakes with cinnamon and sugar, jelly and custard cups, chocolate mousse cups, and slabs of chocolate.
After eating we started to pack. We went through the kitchen and decided what we’d take back with us and what we’d leave for the cleaning lady. We then packed our bags and double checked each room to make sure nothing was left behind. And then we packed the cars and gave our last hugs and kisses goodbye.
One thing I realised while lying under the stars is that it is important to take time out on the weekend. I’m not talking about lying on the couch reading a book or watching series, although that can be a holiday in itself. I’m talking about driving a little way out of town and taking a short holiday. It’s amazing how the relaxation hits you as soon as the city is behind you. It’s amazing to be able to drive a few hours and be surrounded my fresh air, starry skies and nature. I need to remember to plan to get away. I need to remember to make time for myself.
I finally got to visit the Collector’s Treasury in Braamfontein where the books are stacked from floor to ceiling over 5 (yes FIVE) stories. I was amazed to find that they don’t just hold books, they also have a host of vinyl records and antique items (old cameras, old binoculars, tea sets, bone-handled cutlery, paintings, old smoking pipes, etc). Your gaze is captured every which way you look and you have to look at least twice because you just aren’t able to take it all in at one glance.
I was only there for an hour (although it felt like a few minutes) and only managed to browse through two floors. There were a few times where I had to orientate myself because it’s easy to get lost in all the little nooks and corners. Considering the store is said to be the largest used book store in the southern hemisphere, you can imagine the piles of books becoming a maze of happiness for any book lover.
At first there doesn’t seem to be any order to the books. They are just placed on top of each other in teetering piles where any sudden movements could cause the piles to avalanche. But as you explore deeper you see that there is some order in the chaos. Many of the books have been categorised into sections relating to art, religion, fiction, cooking, gardening, first editions, classics, etc. But for the most part there are just piles and piles of books.
I came across this first edition story book. Imagine my surprise when I opened the book to find it was published in 1911, had the most beautiful illustrations, and was priced at R6,000.00.
I happened to pick up a random book, and since I tried to keep my hands to myself so I didn’t end up with piles of books to buy, you’ll find what happened pretty intriguing. It was a random book. With a boring cover. (Yes I judge books by their covers.) With a title that really didn’t sound enthralling. I opened it up to the first page and found a name written in 1916. A “J McDonald”. If the other initials are A and E, then I have the same initials as whoever this McDonald was. Weird huh.
This was one of the things on my list to do this year. See what else I’ve got up to or what I plan to get up to over here!
The Coffee and Chocolate Expo is back at Montecasino for the second time and is said to be a WHOLE lot better than it was last year. I was invited to the opening yesterday afternoon/evening and
my sweet-tooth I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
The expo is being held in four marquees setup at Monte’s outdoor event area. Each marquee is an adventure in discovering which companies have stalls, and all that is on offer. Don’t let the title of coffee and chocolate fool you, there is so much more than just coffee and chocolate (though there is a lot of that too). There is fudge, toffee, crepes, burritos, pancakes, Body Shop goodies, beer, ice-cream, and a whole lot more!
I absolutely adored this old-school Ford that had been turned into a mobile coffee shop.
I then found the most amazing pancake stall called Choco Kebab. It’s an idea originating from Italy where there is this giant kebab of solid chocolate. The pancake is layered with Nutella, then whipped cream, then shavings from the chocolate kebab, then nuts and fruit, and finally topped with some more chocolate and a sprinkling of icing sugar. It was a little difficult to eat, but totally worth all the chocolate that ended up on my face.
Another fabulous discovery was that of chocolate moulded into high heels! This is one chocolate I don’t think I could ever eat…
If you are planning on heading to the expo this weekend, be sure to check out the following stalls… Tasha’s Fudge where six different flavours of fudge are on offer with a great deal of buy 5 and get the 6th one free. Le Pain de Vie which has the most delicious pizza (both savoury and sweet). Chocolaj for their delicious cupcakes and macaroons. Gayleen’s Decadence which boasts healthy chocolate free from all dairy, sugar, preservatives etc and sweetened only with raw honey.
My sweet tooth is really happy with the amount of goodies I bought. Now the hard part will be rationing these out over the next few days…
For more information on event times, ticket prices, etc, head over here.
Remember this post where I found out I had an incorrect restriction on my drivers license and then wrote to the papers because it seemed like my last option? Well a month and a half after the letter was published my drivers license woes are no more, and it’s all thanks to Estrelita the manager of the testing station!
She has been a life-saver in all of this! Many phone calls back and forth. Emails back and forth. And a lot of admin on her side. But it’s finally sorted!
She had to start with tracking down a copy of my driving test to prove that I did it in a manual car but with glasses/contact lenses. This proved quite tricky as apparently the hardcopy records are destroyed a few years afterwards so she had to sift through the softcopy records on the database. (Thank goodness for this database!) She finally found the correct records and had to get these through to the Transport Department along with a copy of my ID which I had to fax through. A week or so later she called to say everything was sorted and I could go and get my license renewed again.
I went through to my closest licensing department in Randburg this Monday and sat in the queue for 2 hours before the electricity went off and I gave up. I went back again on Tuesday and decided to speak to the operations manager before joining the queue. He was most unhelpful telling me that the restriction hadn’t been changed on the system. I tried to explain to him who I had spoken to, what the process had been, etc but he just wouldn’t listen. He just told me to go to Roodepoort where I did my license as they would be the only ones that could help me. So I got in my car and drove the 30 minutes to Roodepoort.
And oh my, Roodepoort was amazing! I was in and out in 5 minutes without having to wait in a single queue. The team there were so helpful in ensuring the error had been changed that I wanted to hug them all.
It’s all sorted. A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
Today I drove through to the Florida Testing Station to meet Estrelita in person and to give her a little something to say thank you. It was the least I could do after she helped me so much.
Last night I attended the VIP launch and book signing of Zelda la Grange’s book “Good Morning, Mr Mandela” at Skoobs in Montecasino. In case you didn’t know, Zelda is the former private secretary to Madiba and her book is about how she spent her adult life working and travelling with, caring for, and supporting Madiba. The book is said to “touch your life and make you believe that every one of us has the power to change”.
I am really glad I chose the spot I did to stand and wait for Zelda to arrive as I happened to be right where the book signing table was which meant I was fourth in line to get my copy of the book was signed, and there were a LOT of people at the event.
Judging by Zelda’s face/reaction here, you’d swear I had said something horrific! Although I have no idea what I was saying when the pic was taken, I promise it was really uninteresting like what my name was or that I was happy to meet her.
I’m looking forward to reading this as I have heard so much about the book since it arrived on the shelves.
The book is available in hardcover or softcover and you can buy it from your nearest book dealer, or log onto Kalahari to order online.
- Core i5
- Windows 8 Pro
- 14″ anti-glare screen
- HDR webcam
- Backlit keyboard
- 1.57kg in weight
- Up to 8 hours battery life
The TravelMate P6 series is a light but hardy notebook that was designed around the needs of business people looking for a laptop that is robust, secure and powerful. It has a carbon fibre cover, a Magnesium-Aluminium frame and a metal alloy hinge ensuring it is strong and robust for any user. The Core i5 processor with Windows 8 Pro ensures it has all the power needed to get the job done.
The TravelMate is much the same as any other Windows-based laptop. It has a slim tile keyboard, a multi-touch touchpad, ports of various kinds and sizes and a simple user interface. For its size, this laptop is packed with 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 ethernet port, 1 VGA port, 1 SD card slot, and separate jacks for headphones and microphones.
The touchpad has dedicated left click and right click buttons as well as a fingerprint reader placed between. The dedicated buttons make it easier to select what you want, how you want, when you want. By positioning your finger on the very right part of the touchpad, you can use your fingertip as a scroller removing the need to click endlessly on the scroller within a programme.
The black keyboard is is backlit and spill-resistant. The keys are well-spaced and are quite shallow so you don’t have to press hard when typing. On the right side of the keyboard are keys for Home, Page Up, Page Down and End which make it easy to navigate the web or use in conjunction with Outlook, Word or Excel.
As with most laptops, the TravelMate allows you to choose between a Balanced power plan and a Power Saver power plan. The power plan can help you maximise performance or conserve energy. So if you’re working solely on battery power, choosing Power Saver will help make your battery life last longer.
The TravelMate is the ideal notebook for any business person. You will be hard-pressed to find a well-priced laptop that is lightweight, has a phenomenal battery life, has a sleek, no-fuss design, and the processing power to keep up with you and your business requirements.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Backlit keyboard
- After hours of working off my lap, the laptop did not overheat or burn my legs.
- Fingerprint marks on the lid after a lot of use
Score: 8 out of 10
From the beginning of the year I have been trying to step away from the ordinary and routine and find something new and different to enjoy once a month. I was most disappointed that my To Do Item for June had to be postponed due to the uncharacteristic rain we endured and that there weren’t enough days left in the month to plan anything else. Luckily the end of one month is followed by the beginning of the next which means Sunday Lunch at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville.
Katy’s hosts a lunch at their venue every first Sunday of the month from 10h00. There is a phenomenal harvest table of food made with love by the team at Fresh Catering, a fully-stocked bar, and some fabulous live entertainment. I have wanted to go ever since I first heard about it, but every month I ended up having plans for the first weekend of the month. Until now…
I decided to make the most of being free this past weekend and invited a bunch of my girls to join me. I arranged to meet them at 11h00 and despite this being only an hour after they opened their doors, all of the indoor tables were *booked when I arrived. Thank goodness I arrived earlier than expected as I managed to secure a couch area on the balcony. It was glorious out there to begin with as it wasn’t as noisy, but soon the crowds gathered and the wind picked up (but not before we’d enjoyed the delicious feast that was on offer).
The serving station was opened at 12h00 and there was quite a rush to get a plate of food while it was still piping hot. The lunch works on a pay-and-weigh system where you dish up what you want from the food provided, weigh your plate at the end and only pay for that amount at the tills (with card machines) provided. I found it was a lot quicker to pay with cash but I suppose if I was paying for two or more plates it would make sense to pay with a card rather.
The lunch was heavenly! It filled the void in my stomach from having arrived early (and hungry) and was so hearty that I had a very happy “food baby” at the end. It was so lovely spending a Sunday chilling, catching up with friends and watching the people.
*The Sunday Lunch doesn’t allow bookings or reservations, so it’s first come, first choice of seating. I’ll remember this for next time.
This was one of the things on my list to do this year. See what else I’ve got up to or what I plan to get up to over here!
At the beginning of May I went to the Randburg Licensing Department to renew my driver’s licence card. I arrived early one Thursday morning and took my place in the relatively short queue. I had no issues with the change in my surname or outstanding fines that needed to be paid, which were two of my major worries.
When renewing my licence, I have always gone to the Randburg branch because it’s nearby. Over the years they have updated their systems and when I went this year I discovered that before you pay the amount due with the cashier, they print out a page with your details that you then sign to confirm. In reading over my details I found that there was an incorrect restriction listing me as only being able to drive an automatic. Since I did my driving test in a manual car, this was obviously an error. The cashier advised me that this error could not be rectified on his system, only the testing station where I did my test could do that.
I got back home and called the testing station hoping to get a positive answer. The lady that answered the phone laughed at me and told me that since I had done my test so long ago the records had been destroyed and if I wanted to rectify the error I would have to redo both the learner and driving tests. I put the phone down and promptly burst into tears that I had yet another thing to deal with now.
I was still mulling over the situation and what I should do when I met someone at my dad’s house when I went there for dinner. He was a BIG help! First he advised me to go back to the Randburg Licensing Department and see the manager on duty to confirm that the error was not made there when renewing my licence. Once I found out that it definitely could not have been made there, he suggested I email my story through to two newspapers which I then did.
It was so weird that early last week I received a call from the testing station in question and was advised that the manager was working on it and would get back to me. I didn’t quite understand how they knew who I was when no-one had responded to my email. It was only when I saw my letter published in the newspaper on Friday that I put two and two together.
I love how JMPD responded that I may be interpreting the code incorrectly. I definitely am NOT interpreting the code incorrectly as I checked my licence card against my sister, my dad, my uncle…the world basically. The only restriction I should have on my card is having to drive with glasses/contact lenses which is a driver’s restriction. Please do yourself a favour and check your card thoroughly.
I’m hoping the manager at the testing station will be able to help put things right so that I am not forced to buy an automatic car or redo those darned tests.
(If you want to know the ending to this story then click here…)