I haven’t done a chatty catch up post in a while (is it just me or does every blog post by every blogger start off like this these days? Sorrreeee.) so here’s a little of what I’ve been getting up to lately. I’ve just returned (with a cold to prove it) from a whirlwind ten days in KZN. It’s always quite a thing returning to your childhood home, especially when it’s the same place where you met and married your partner and lived in for a little while in your adulthood. Returning to the Midlands gives me that weird feeling you get when you’re at home, but feel homesick for some place you’ve never been… have you ever felt like that? And you’re all like, but why am I homesick?? I’m AT home! And I haven’t even been gone for that long anyway… perhaps in my head I’d left ages ago. Amongst the hen party and wedding madness, I managed to spend some very special quality time with my family and explore a bit. I even went for a run, which I’m still super-gloaty about, because who ever goes for runs when they’re away? Olympic athletes, that’s who.
First on my agenda was a massage with Colleen at Midlands House of Healing. If you’ve followed me and my blog for a while, you will know how much I adore visiting this earth angel. This is literally no one in Cape Town or anyone in the world, for that matter, that I’ve come across who can give a massage like she can. It’s not long into my sessions that I’m floating away in a state of bliss and I really, really miss my monthly meetings and massages with Colleen. She is now located on the Karkloof road out of Howick and if you are lucky enough to live in the area, I urge you to visit her. Your body and soul will thank you!
I met up with my friend, Nicola, and got to meet her little Ella child for the first time. What a cutie pie! With only eyes for her mommy, I might add. We did a little perusal around The Ruby Orchard (one of my favourite shops on the Midlands) and I bought her the cutest little owl beanie form Sugar and Spice. My heart – she looks so cute in it! I got to take a look around the new Yard 41 and the buildings, designed by Nick Crooks of Hillhouse, are absolutely stunning. The views from the upstairs balcony at the relocated Farmer’s Daughter is breathtaking too – such a pity about the lack of vegetarian (never mind vegan) options – had to settle for bland green leaves and french fries for lunch – the nemesis of veggies worldwide.
By day four I was itching for some good yummy plant-based fare and so my mum and I headed out to The Snooty Fox at Fernhill Hotel – one of the very few places (if not only) in the Midlands that provides vegan options on their extensive menu. My mom, godmother and I all feasted on the beetroot burger which was just sublime. The patty held really firm for a veggie burger and I smashed it in my hands and around my face like all good burgers should be smashed. For dessert, Cayley Slater prepared us the most delicious creme brûlée! Watch out for this young pastry chef – I have a feeling she is going to go places! Afterwards, executive chef and owner-partner, Alex Poltera, showed us around some of the newly refurbished rooms and they are looking so elegant and lovely. Next time I’m in the Midlands, I will be staying over for sure, because driving home with such a full tummy can’t be good for you!
Mom and I also stopped off at Steampunk Cafe for what is widely considered the best coffee in the Midlands, and I was so keen for a strong cappuccino, but alas, no soya milk or almond milk in sight, which still seems to be a common thing in the Midlands – except for a surprisingly good soya milk cappuccino I had at Coffeeberry at Cascades in the ‘borough. Next time will carry plant milk around in my hessian bag… just so I can really stick out. The Americano at Steampunk was amazing though and rendered me upright and focused for the rest of the day!
Speaking of great coffee, we also ventured out to Blueberry Cafe for brunch and to check out their new bean roasting section. Josh Falconer is the barista and the man behind the machine and I made sure to take home a bag of the Cerrado beans to try in our own machine. They made the most delicious cup of coffee – I hit the prefect espresso range and it produced the best crema I’ve seen in ages! The resulting coffee was smooth, nutty and soft – just as the tasting notes implicated. Divine. Whilst at the cafe, I just had to treat myself to one of my very first favourite plant-based meals – the aubergine burger. It was just as good as I remembered and I was delighted to hear that they are introducing a vegan and gluten-free blueberry waffle to the menu! YUM. What great and positive changes.
My brother treated my mom and I to a meal at Tandoor Kitchen in Pietermaritzburg – a North Indian place he’s been wanting us to try for a while. Now, I can see (and taste) why he’s been banging on about it for so long. Indian cuisine is always great for vegans – there is a whole page on the menu dedicated to vegetarian curries and the waiter was happy to point out which ones didn’t contain dairy. I wish I could explain the flavours to you – they were just phenomenal! I wanted to sneak into the kitchen and steal the contents of their spice racks. The decor is seriously minimal and their four-and-a-half star Trip Advisor award hangs proudly on the wall – the place is clearly all about the food, and rightly so! I managed to convince my dad and stepmom later on in the week to get us takeaways, and it was just as mind-blowing again. Simply delicious! Also, get a load of that baaaaard.
The reason we were in the Midlands was for Gemma and Geoff”s special wedding day. For the first time, both Andrew and I were members of the bridal party, and we were so proud and happy to be a part of the union of two of our closest friends in the whole world. Gemma wore the most exquisite dress designed by Yolanda Wortmann (Geoff looked pretty dapper too and there was not a dry eye in sight when he watched his beautiful bride walk down the aisle) and all the food was vegan, including the most delicious chocolate, coconut and cherry wedding cake! What a delight to actually be able to stuff your face with everything on offer at a wedding for once. I was so full and thank god my dress was an oversized one with plenty of breathing room!
We headed home on Sunday happy and full of love and just a little hungover! It was so wonderful to spend time with the family and our special friends in the beautiful Midlands, but now it’s back to the fairest Cape for a good dose of reality and hard work for a bit. And, thank god, soya milk cappuccinos. I missed you so.