Monday, January 15, 2018

I am a foodie of note, which you would know if you are a regular follower of my blog. Working in social media means that I am constantly exposed to the newest, best and brightest of everything. While few things capture my eye, a good restaurant or a travel deal are guaranteed to knab my attention within seconds.

So when the new restaurant called Marigold launched in Franschoek I was intrigued, to say the least, there were gorgeous images splashed across Facebook and Instagram and I started to have some serious #fomo ... yes, for reals. It was then that Marigold Restaurant progressed to my #2018 wishlist without hesitation. Marigold is housed in Heritage Square and complements the Leeu Collection hospitality portfolio.

These past holidays I made a lunch date with a long-time friend who lives in Franschoek, and the two of us toddled along for lunch at Marigold Restaurant.

My Marigold Restaurant Experience

Being an authentic Indian restaurant Marigold's serve truly unique Indian dishes which you may struggle to find elsewhere. The tone is immediately set once you enter the quaint venue which seats a maximum of 60 people. The decor is rich in metals and warm tones all speaking to the namesake and inspiration of marigolds which are a vibrant orange.

The tables are beautifully set and arranged so as to get as much intimacy and privacy for the individual tables,  as you can within the confines such a small space. The beautifully screened windows are not only decorative but filter the bright light coming in, and they once again add to the rooms beauty and ambience.

The problem is where to start on the menu? We that's easy, start with the #Thali.

What is Thali you may ask?
“Thali” is a composite and wholesome meal with various small portions served on one platter. The idea behind the Thali is to offer all the various flavours of Indian kitchen – sweet, salty, spicy, crispy and sour.

A Thali feast

At Marigold it is offering of what our chef likes the best  and was a composite of the following:

Vegetarian - R280 
- One vegetarian Indian street food
- One vegetarian tandoori starters
- One vegetarian main dish
- One Basmati Rice
- One Dal Preparation
- One Salad
- One Yoghurt
- One tandoori naan
- One dessert

Non-vegetarian - 320 
- One non-vegetarian Indian street food (fish goujons)
- One non-vegetarian tandoori starters (tandoori chicken)
- One non-vegetarian main dish (lamb kebab)
- One Basmati Rice
- One Dal Preparation (we had yellow dal)
- One Salad
- One Yoghurt (Raita)
- One tandoori naan
- One dessert (yoghurt khulfi ice-cream lollie)

While the servings may look meagre to the naked eye, I promise you that you will be busting at the seams once you have finished your Thali.

"The individual dishes are flavour filled and a virtual feast for the senses whilst the khulfi cleanses the pallet and leaves you feeling refreshed."

The waitrons are so efficient, maybe a little too serious but Sive our waiter was all that you would expect from a fine-dining establishment (he did smile for his photo). The uniforms are reminiscent of a bygone Victorian era and very impressive.

All-in-all from the food, the presentation the beautiful venue it is a dining experience to beat, and I will definitely be back to sample the normal menu and once again tantalise my taste buds.


For more info, click here - Marigold Restaurant

** Disclaimer -  This is not a sponsored post but my own personal experience and expense

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Chocolate has evolved to somewhat of a connoisseurs art, it no longer is simply just those regular mass produced " candy bars", but rather encompasses the artisanal.

I recently got to venture through Franschoek where I stumbled upon a tucked away gem called SCOOP and De Villiers Chocolate Cafe.

Background on De Villiers Chocolate

Africa produces more than 70% of the world’s cocoa beans but makes less than 1% of the world’s chocolate. With most of this 1% being low quality milk chocolate, we are one of only a handful of chocolate companies producing high premium, quality artisan chocolate on the continent.

We were the first ‘Bean to Bar’ artisanal chocolate maker in South Africa and amongst only a few in the world. Most of the chocolate currently available on the market is mass produced by large international companies. Produced from cocoa mass or liquor and treated as a commodity, there is no acknowledgement of the farmer or chocolate maker in the process. We make our chocolate from carefully sourced cocoa beans where the chocolate reflects the personality and passion of the maker.

All of our cocoa beans are traceable to farm level and are free from any people exploitation. Our African Collection, Sweet Hand Crafted Collection and enrobed fruit are UTZ certified, meaning that we support sustainable cocoa farming where farmers implement practices with respect for people and planet. 
For more info explore the De Villiers Chocolate Website

De Villiers has a selection of handcrafted artisanal chocolates which you can choose from and make up your own personal selection box, and let me tell you the choice is rather overwhelming. Box prices range as follows:

5 chocolates @R59
9 chocolates @R87
15 chocolates @126

So, of course, I had to take advantage of the opportunity and taste some to give you feedback (yeah right, as if .... tee hee).

Chocolate heaven uncovered

I choose the 5 chocolate assortment box with the honey, strawberry, raspberry, coconut and chilli chocolates. Here is my review ...

Appearance: yellow speckled
Taste: A rich dark chocolate with a honey filling and a hazelnut in the centre.

Appearance: Milk chocolate heart with pink brush strokes
Taste: Milk chocolate with a soft strawberry fondant type filling which is naturally slightly tarte

Appearance: A dark chocolate square with dried raspberry sprinkles
Taste: A dark chocolate paired with a tart rapberry mousse filling, becareful of the rapberry seeds

Appearance: A blonde moulded chocolate
Taste: A creamy blonde chocolate with a tender creamy coconut centre

(sorry for the dark chocolate from the knife ... my bad ... tee hee)

Last but definitely not least is the host stuff!

Appearance: A dark chocolate square with a fine sprinkle of chilli
Taste: A dark chocolate square with a soft dark chocolate centre with a chilli after-bite

I have to be honest and say that I enjoyed each and every one of the chocolates, what I love is that the chocolate is neither too bitter nor too sweet.

De Villiers chocolates also have the cafe and ice cream bar called SCOOP in the same premises but I will cover these in a different post.

This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

I recently reviewed some wonderful satin pillowslips and I just wanted to share that once again Dear Deer have come up with the most amazing additions!

Dear Deer add two new sizes to their collection

As you all know I love nothing more than finding me an spoil, but what I am about to share will suit both the little and maybe the larger in your life. Now now, settle down ladies I'm not going down that road, let keep it about the waistline.

Tee hee ... however, this is for the bedroom, just saying!

Here's a hint ...

Dear dear continually comes up with new and interesting innovations. Today it's time to bring you the mini-pillowcase and the king size pillowslip aka continental pillowslip.

The colour range which includes:
- Vanilla
- Grey
- Blue
- White
- Fawn
- Rose
- Fuschia

You can now get it in either a small travel size or alternatively, you can get the King size pillowslip. These are available in your favourite colours and are available online now.

So come on girls, I know Christmas is over But they were still time for one last little spoil. I've got mine #sorrynotsorry

For those frequent flyers and travellers, I would highly highly recommend the little mini pillow and satin pillowcase. It is not only great at preventing you from getting those lines and wrinkles (pillow squish) while snoozing on the plane or hotel, but is small enough to sneak in your overnight bag.

However, for those who love to sleep comfort and style with plenty of pillows and plush cushions, then the King size pillow will surely be your only source of comfort. It is the ultimate luxury and something that will not only spoil you, but it will also add a little Hollywood style glamour to your "boudoir" and bed.

Prices you can afford

1. Mini/ Travel Pillow
- inner: R80
- pillowslip: R150

2. Continental Pillow
- Pillowslip: R225

Why should you consider a satin pillowcase? 

Here are 3 good reasons out of many:

After all, now you can have it ... in big, small or medium girls the choice is yours...

Oops, did I say that. .. Dear deer me!


** Disclaimer 2

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Recently a friend of mine came up from Scotland and I decided to take a tour of the peninsula which I will get into more in another post. The best part of the journey was stopping for dinner in an area known as Kalk Bay in Cape Town, part of the activities planned was that we were going to have dinner that night at the Brass Bell Restaurant.
The Brass Bell is a local legend in the Cape and for myself and growing up in Kommetjie and Fish Hoek it was quite an adventure to return here.  I was somewhat surprised at the same time I had never seen the renovations. The restaurant itself is now to divided into three different areas with an outdoor deck beach pool area and also an inside pub area, followed by a more casual dining area all of which are facing onto the beautiful crashing waves.

Brass Bell Restaurant Dining Experience

On this particular evening, we decided to choose a casual dining option as we had been busy and on the run all day, and we didn't feel like lots of loud music. It is important to note that the beach and pool areas are only open during the day. The inside of the restaurant is really really basic with wooden benches and tables reminiscent of a rustic fisherman style, but the food itself is mainly seafood and offers the freshest and the most traditional. Dishes include Catch Of The Day, Hake & Chips (white firm-fleshed stockfish), to Calamari( also known as Squid), to fresh Oysters. The restaurant offers a wide variety and still caters to the carnivores with options like steak and Pork Belly.

Our meal consisted of a fresh Oysters just bursting with flavour and a hint of Tabasco, Hake and chips for him and Calamari and chips for myself. We rounded off our meal with cappuccinos to cleanse the palate and give us a kick of energy to keep going until we got to respective homes.

The service was excellent the waiters and waitresses were very friendly and the food arrived quickly. It was hot and fresh ... seafood at it's best, and overall a wonderful experience.
Thank you, Brass Bell for a lovely evening and I will differently be back in the near future.

Sadly I forgot to take pictures so please forgive me *cheesy grin*

For more info and bookings: CALL BRASS BELL

** Disclaimer 2 - this is not a sponsored post Images the Brass Bell

Saturday, December 30, 2017

In South Africa, we are really spoilt for choice when it comes to scenic routes, beautiful sightseeing, national parks and tours. One might even be tempted to say we are privileged down here in the Cape.

With sun, sea, vineyards, mountains, desert, game farms and so so much more, one truly is spoilt for choice ... but sadly us locals tend to take this land of natural beauty for granted. Well, that is until you are reminded by visitors/ friends who do not get to share this glorious piece of heaven.

I recently got to show a longtime friend of mine around our beautiful peninsula (I will be doing a few posts) and so I thought I would share our time exploring Boulders Beach and seeing the penguins.

Boulders Beach and African Penguin Colony

Boulders Beach is a wildlife sanctuary and home to more than 2000 penguins, as part of South Africa's National Parks (SANS) it is very much a controlled access area and is surprisingly well governed.

Here is what you need to know:
Boulders Penguin Colony in Simons Town is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. This colony is one of only a few in the world, and the site has become famous and a popular international tourist destination.

The Boulders Beach colony consists of 3 pristine beaches, 1 penguin viewing area and 3 boardwalks. The boardwalks were built as a measure to allow for viewing of these wonderful birds, whilst keeping them safe from poking fingers. Please respect these birds and be sure to stay on the boardwalks at all times within the viewing area. (We actually saw people scaling the boulders to intrude on the bird sanctuary ... shame on you humans!)

There is both the sanctuary and a small little cove with a beach, this area is ideal for children as immense boulders shelter the cove from currents, wind and large waves - but please always take care (also note that there is an entry fee).

Penguins, the more the merrier

Here are some pictures from our day out. I just love these beautiful gentlemen of the sea in their impressive Tuxedo's, what a show they make ... albeit comical at times.

You sometimes have to look twice to see the penguins hidden under the rocks they are so well camouflaged.

You can also see that many of the chicks are still moulting (this can take up to 2 years according to the boards at the sanctuary .... sheesh!)

On the day we got to see these unusual man-made nests as well as a variety of other nests which were under rocks, in the bush and even hollowed out of the sand. These sea creatures are really adaptable when it comes to making a hearth. See below ... 

PLEASE NOTE: Don't touch or feed the penguins – they may look cute and cuddly but their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.

So there you have it, another great Cape Town tourist attraction and for the locals who have yet to go. what are you waiting for?

**Disclaimer - none

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Life is totally unpredictable it shifts and sways in so many unexpected ways and yet somehow I manage to remain standing ... albeit a little battered and frayed.

If I have learned one thing in the past three weeks, it is that hurts can be healed, hearts can be restored and exhaustion can be all consuming! You see I have had my parents in the hospital at the same time for the past two and a half weeks.

It has been a journey of rushing to and fro between hospital floors to take them to see each other, getting them drinks, snacks, looking after cats, doing their washing and even forcing them to do their rehab. Now, don't get me wrong I absolutely adore my parents and while the journey is not yet over ...  if I had to, I would do it for them again in a heartbeat.

The amazing thing is I have seen that even though they bicker, disagree and get grumpy with each other, they truly are inseparable and they love each other (in a truly strange way) and it is so nice to see after all this time.

Love lost, love gained and love found ...

I have spent the past year reflecting on my life. With what would have been my 10th wedding anniversary approached,  I was pondering on whether I will ever be able to love and trust again. Whether I could let someone into my heart and space again after being on my own for nearly 8 years?

What often keeps me going and grounded is a dream I had during the course this year. I had the most amazing dream and vision from God, a promise if you will of hope, of future love ... one so real I could actually smell the man of my dreams. No no, settle down ladies, I am not in a relationship nor am I ready to declare my undying love just yet. I did, however, have a friend visit from overseas and he has truly helped stir emotions on some levels, and is blissfully ignorant of others he healed...weird, I know right?

Well, with this recent visit from my friend I realised there are still gentlemen (they are just hard to find), there are still guys who treat a woman with respect and spoil them ... even when there is nothing other than friendship in the mix. But, most of all I realised with the right person and a lot of patience (from his side) I would adjust and maybe even enjoy having a significant other at some point again.

I find it amazing that there is no recipe for life, no hard and fast rules! Life, love and everything in between is all a series of decisions and results influenced by our own personal choices. All I can say is I am looking forward to 2018 and cheers, too wise choices, good men and great adventures!

Friday, December 15, 2017

For the past three years, there has been a buzzing little festival in the heart of Woodstock, it captures both the tastebuds and tummies of many a Cape Town foodie. I am talking about the Cape Town Visa Street Food Festival.

While I had often seen the ads for the event and always had it on my to do "bucket list" I never quite got there ... until this year that is!

Cape Town Street Food Festival Shenanigans

So whats on offer. So how does it all work? And what will I see?

Info central:
VENUE: Side Street Studios, 48 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town.
COST: Approx R50 (Saturday market), R100 (Sunday market), R1 300 (conference)
WHEN: Usually the first weekend in September

There tends to be a truly festive flair that vibrates between the buildings hosting the Streetfood Festival and the precinct is rich in art and creative flair. While wandering around you will see the most amazing street art murals, sculptures and cosy lighting, and as the sun sets it truly does set the tone for this culinary extravaganza.

So who are the vendors?

Take your pick from the food trucks to "local is lekker" home crafted (tuisnywerhede) treats, not to mention a selection of hand-picked and curated gourmet pop-up stalls at this tasty annual event.

The Cape Town Visa Street Food Festival is an event not to be missed, with Side Street Studios being the host and creating a cordoned off area that is both relaxing and intimate for this ever-popular market. The carnival-type strung up lighting, quaint nooks and crannies surrounding the food trucks make for a chance to stop nibble, chat and then move on to the next gastronomical treat. I love that the market is a cash-free zone, make it safe both for guests and vendors alike and definitely discouraging the "crime factor" usually present at these type of events ... what a great idea!

I personally tried and tested the below, however, I would have loved to try far more had my stomach and purse allowed for it!


The pulled pork Jaffle (above)
The Halloumi Fries

These were and are my favourite and Salty Flames is a definite must do!

The Wicked Waffle. These are possibly the lightest, fluffiest and most delicious waffles you will ever eat. I made the MISTAKE of sharing and boy oh boy did I regret it! Indulge ... you have my permission to be a little piggy!

NOB BURGERS - No Ordinary Burger

Reputed to have the best burgers around I am seriously bummed I did not get to try NOB Burgers. They were very clever and displayed sample meals beautifully to entice and tempt passers-by.

Another fabulous eatery I just did not get to sample, more here Boulevard 82

If you enjoy a flatbread, you'll want to try these Stack That Hungarian flatbreads with the most delicious fillings.


Eeeeep look at that ball of Candy Floss ...nom nom nom!

Guys, I forgot to take a pic of my fabulous pineapple and Vin Coco cocktail in a jar, it was absolutely delish! Sawwwy!

 All these home-cooked meals were prepared by some of South Africa’s best street-food vendors and were not only fresh but super tasty too.

So if there is one thing you do this coming year, mark this off in your diaries for the first week in September 2018 ... you'll be super glad you did!