Browsing Category

Lifestyle

Travel

South Africa’s most romantic cities (for single people)

February 12, 2018

A post on South Africa’s most romantic cities is probably not a post that you’d expect to read from a single blogger. Here’s the deal, you don’t have to be in love with someone else to be romantic (you could also be in love with life or yourself). One of the many meanings of being romantic is to have an idealised view of life.

Here are South Africa’s most romantic cities as decided by me and some of the romantic spots for you to visit.

Port Elizabeth

Surely you’d expect me to put the ever so lovely and beautiful Port Elizabeth on this list.

St George’s Park

As I grow my photography portfolio, I fall more and more in love with St George’s park. I almost always choose it when I can. But I digress, my favourite part of St George’s park is the Pearson Conservatory. With its old world charm, it is easily one of the most beautiful places in Port Elizabeth.

It’s probably not the safest to go to on your own. Unless of course, you stick to well-lit walkways or stay in one of the busy areas during daytime. What’s romantic about it, well one sunny Sunday take a walk in the park. Surrounded by beautiful shrubbery, trees and lush landscape (well it was lush before the drought, and even though it’s not as green as it used to be, it’s still beautiful).

Pollok Beach parking lot

Initially, I was hesitant to share this beach parking lot. No dirty thoughts now. Back when I was at university I used to occasionally come here to be on my own. Back then Something Good was still closed and run down, and the parking lot was for the most part empty with the exception of a few misfits and dodgy blokes. The beach at the parking lot was and still is, a moody beauty. At the start of the beach is a beautiful rock formation, which contained a blowhole. For the most part, I stayed in my car or stayed close to the entrance of the beach. But I enjoyed visiting this beach to be alone but surrounded by beauty. I had such a feeling of contentedness when I used to visit it back in my varsity days. These days its safe to visit, thanks to Something Good reopening the parking lot is always full, so it no longer has that feeling of serenity, but the views are still just as beautiful. Also, Something Good makes some of the best coffee, gelato and milkshakes (it’s one of my all-time favourite restaurants).

Cape Town

Cape Town is one of my favourite cities in South Africa. At one point in my life, I even wanted to move there. In my opinion, PE is similar to the Mother City, with the exception of it being smaller, with less traffic and parking (and the average person can afford to buy a house over here). These days I prefer it as a holiday destination, nevertheless I am always on the lookout for Cheap flights to Cape Town. One of my regular sites to check out for them is Travelstart.

Here are my picks on some of the most romantic spots in Cape Town, which puts it on the list as one of South Africa’s most romantic cities for me.

The Lindt shop at the V&A Waterfront

I remember the first (and only) time I went to the Lindt shop at the V&A. It was much like walking into a dream, a sweet dream filled with decadent Swiss chocolate. Eating your body weight in chocolate, which is simultaneously the best and worst thing about it. Nevertheless while wandering around this chocolate shop, I was hopelessly in love, with life. I bought so much chocolate this day guys (mostly as gifts) and the super friendly sales assistant gave us heaps of free tasters. My best friend also got to create his own slab (side note, if you do have a partner and don’t know what to get them for a gift, take them here).

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch is quite something else. I’ve been to the gardens twice and would love to go again. There’s just a sense of serenity and beauty that puts me in awe of the place. Yes it’s great for picnics with loved ones and all that jazz. But have you sat down on a patch of grass, alone and been so inspired by the beauty of nature. The views, combined with the whistling of birds and rattling of leaves in the wind, put me at peace. With myself, and with my Creator.  If you are in Cape Town for one day and can only visit one place. Forget Table Mountain, forget the winelands, visit these gardens. It is arguably the most romantic place i have visited in the Mother City.

I’ve only selected two cities, but there are many other romantic and beautiful towns in South Africa. What are South Africa’s most romantic cities according to you? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to keep up, you can find me on my social network accounts. I’m most active on Twitter, but I can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. And while you’re here be sure to subscribe to the blog and newsletter, to keep up to date with what’s happening.

This post was created in collaboration with Travelstart. All views are my own.

 

Books

Paying my debts with Andy Stanley’s Enemies of the Heart

January 30, 2018

On Sunday 19 November 2017, whilst seated in 12 C on British Airways flight BA 6240 from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, tears streamed down my face as I clutched onto my copy of Andy Stanley’s Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Emotions that Control You. The seat next to me was empty, and the man in the window seat was captured by the views outside. The man seated across the aisle from me had however noticed my tears and was visibly uncomfortable. I decided it would be best to stop reading Enemies of the Heart, I didn’t have the energy to explain to my co-workers why I was crying should my eyes still be red once I got off the plane. The book hit me where it hurt, my heart.

Andy Stanley Enemies of the Heart book review

I had started reading the book a few days earlier and at the time of my trip, I was still in part one. Stanley had been describing the symptoms of a sick heart, both in the physical and emotional sense. He made parallels between a physically sick heart and an emotionally sick heart. This enables the reader to understand that just like when your physical heart is sick, if your heart is spiritually and emotionally sick, you need to treat it. Damage to our hearts makes us numb, it affects our relationships with our friends, family and God. And my heart (was and still is) so sick. His words touched me and moved me to tears. Tears that fell uncontrollably as I silently swept them away with my hand. I put the book down and decided to read the book when I was ready. Thanks to life as we know it, I wasn’t able to read the book in a while.

In the first part, Stanley introduces us the four emotions that make us sick: guilt, anger, greed and jealousy. In the second part, Stanley gives us an understanding of each of the emotions, comparing them to a debt that we owe. He explains the power that these debts hold over us and that unless we “pay them” they will continue hold power over us. We experience guilt when we feel like we owe someone else, anger when someone else owes us. We are greedy when we feel that we owe ourselves and we are jealous we feel that God owes us.

In the third part, Stanley provides us with methods to make our hearts stronger and pay our debts. This is done through confession, forgiveness, generosity and celebration. You’ll have to read the book to learn more. The last part of the book is discussion questions. Truth be told, I haven’t yet worked through them, but give me time.

The irony is that later in the book, Stanley explains that we can’t wait until we’re ready or until our hearts are stronger, to work on making our hearts stronger.We can only make our hearts stronger by working on them. There’ll always be something to be guilty, envious, greedy or jealous about.

I feel like I read this book at the right time. I shouldn’t have read it on that trip. Recently an incident happened at work that made me feel so guilty (even though I am not the one would caused it, due to my position I felt at fault, because if I had been aware of the contents of a document I didn’t have, I would I been able to stop this incident from happening). I felt so guilty that I couldn’t sleep or eat. With Stanley’s advice fresh in my mind, I took the advice of the book and I confessed. More than once, and to more than one person, and I felt so much better. I definitely intend on trying the rest of the advice Stanley gives and working through the discussion questions.

If you are a Christian (or are open to reading Christian books) and you feel like your heart is heavy, I would most definitely recommend this book. It can be purchased at Christian booksellers such as CUM Books.

Images via Pexels.

Books

Coffee at Little Angels Review and Giveaway (along with some other goodies)

November 6, 2017

I’ll be upfront. I doubt I would be able to do an unbiased review on Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter, the blogger behind the travel blog Passing the Open Windows. Cause I think she is an amazing person and I am fortunate enough to call her a friend. Granted, I had bought an ebook copy of Coffee at Little Angels and read it before I befriended Nadine, so I will nevertheless try to be unbiased.

Port Elizabeth Blogger and Author of Coffee at Little Angels, Nadine Rose Larter

Coffee at Little Angels review

The story takes place in an unnamed small town. Seven childhood friends, who are now in their twenties, are reunited after the death of one of their friends, Phillip. Now grown up, they don’t have much in common anymore and they have many unresolved conflicts between them, that have been simmering over the years. The only thing that currently links them and brings them together, is the untimely death of Phillip.

The story is written from the point of view of all eight characters Sarah, Kaitlyn, Caleb, Maxine, Grant, Melanie, Josh and even the dead man himself, Philip. There are a number of flashbacks and each individual’s story is entwined. Coffee at Little Angels is very much a character-driven story.

Most of the characters were interesting, except Sarah (many of the reviewers on the book’s Goodreads page like Sarah). Her character annoyed me to extremes, she was always so needy and perfect, and in some parts, I felt like she was making Phillip’s death all about her. Nevertheless, the other characters personality’s made up for Sarah’s perfection. If I had to pick a favourite character it would have to Maxine. I feel that she had the most character growth in the book and as a character, I feel that she is a good person, without being perfect.

The book took me through a range of emotions. While reading, I felt happy, sad (I may or may not have cried a bit at some points), annoyance (mostly at Sarah, occasionally because of Melanie) and even anger. At the end, I was furious.  But I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, you’ll have to read it yourself.

All in all, I give Coffee at Little Angels, 5 out 5 stars. To purchase a copy, you can contact Nadine on her site or alternatively you can purchase the ebook version on Amazon. I loved this book so much, I’ve bought a copy for a friend and bought one for you guys. Nadine has also been awesome enough to sign this copy.

Coffee at Little Angels giveaway

Some extras

I’ve added some extras to the book. I had been gathering some stuff for a giveaway but never seem to get around to getting all of the items. So I thought these would be the perfect addition to the book.

Caribbean Tan Tan in a Can

I had gotten this tan in a can in one of my #ECMeetup goodie bags. As a Coloured person, I tan naturally quite easily. All I need is 15 minutes in the sun (unfortunately I turn red in my cheeks just as quickly). Although I’ve heard many amazing things about this product, I’m sure one of you guys can put it to better use.

Colour Pop Supershock Highlighter in Wisp

Guys do you know how much I love this highlighter. I seriously contemplated keeping this for myself as a backup, but instead, I’ve decided to share the love. This is my go-to highlighter, I have a huge pan showing in mine. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that I have to use my fingers to blend it as it doesn’t work with a brush.

Enjoy Flirty Fun Hand Cream

Enjoy products are pretty awesome and they’re pretty affordable as well. I’ve used the Enjoy body wash in Flirty Fun before and I loved the scent. It smells like sweets, those heart shaped ones with quirky sayings such as kiss me written on them. Their creams are also pretty good.

Essence lipgloss

Essence is an amazing brand and I love most of their products. Which is why I popped in two of their lipglosses (I forgot the names), but it’s two pretty reds.

Giveaway

This is not a sponsored post. The winner will receive a signed copy of Coffee at Little Angels along with the aforementioned beauty products.

Before entering the giveaway,  read the terms and conditions for competitions on OSI.

To enter the giveaway complete the list below. Each point is one entry in the giveaway. None of the steps is mandatory, so you can only do the entries that you’re comfortable with.

To enter do the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Travel

A weekend away in McGregor

July 31, 2017

Nestled in the Langeberg Valley is the quaint McGregor Village. Thanks to McGregor Country Getaways and the #ECMeetup I won a weekend away for 6 people. I ended up taking my family, my brother’s in-laws, and as McGregor is a 2-hour drive from Cape Town, I invited one of my best friends who resides in the Mother City. We ended up being 8 people going for the weekend, so my brother and his wife booked a place across the road from the cottage where the rest of us were staying.

The road to McGregor

The trip from Port Elizabeth to McGregor is roughly 6 hours. Which for me felt like a life time. The last time I travelled to the Western Cape by road was in 2011. The trip would have been quicker, but we had leisurely breaks at Storms River and Mossel Bay. Then, of course, there’s the GPS. Sometimes I think these things are traps. My dad’s one is always taking him via dodgy or rural backroads. And on this trip, it lived up to its reputation and took us on a 19km gravel road. That alone took us an hour. Once in the village, we learned that it would have been quicker and more vehicle friend to travel to the village via Robertson.

Francolin Cottage

It was early evening when we arrived in McGregor, so we all got settled in. We stayed in Francolin Cottage, which consisted of the main house and a flat. The cottage accommodates 6 people in total. The cottage had a very homely feel to it and there were a lot of small touches that made staying in the facility enjoyable. Firstly, we arrived to find preheated rooms and beds (they had electric blankets. In other news I’ve been looking the prices of them, they are the bomb). Being in the middle of winter, and in a valley, the village can get really cold, I’ve been told. But in my opinion, it was not as cold as I expected it to be.

Another nice touch was a welcome bottle of wine and that the cottage has filter coffee. Yes, proper decent coffee! Not those Ricoffy sachets most other places have.

Another unique touch was that the cottage does not have a TV or radio. And to be honest it was a great thing. This forces visitors to either A) Talk to one another or B) Explore the village. There are though a number of games in the cottage to encourage interaction. However, there was some big rugby match on the Saturday afternoon, but there is a pub a few houses down from where we stayed. It’s so quiet though, that it would be easy to miss that it was a pub. In any case, most of us went down to the pub. My family went to watch the rugby at the pub and enjoyed themselves.

Karoux

On Friday night, after we settled in and chatted for a bit, we went out to eat at Karoux restaurant. Karoux is owned and run by Ryan and Aimee Josten. Their menu is written on a black board, as it changes regularly (I think weekly, if not daily) and it is dependant on the fresh produce that they find.

The highlight of the meal for me was the salted bread that was put on the table. OMW, I think I had three pieces.  I’m not a salt lover. I cook without salt and can easily eat meals without it. But that salted bread, I loved it.

I find the restaurant to be a mix of artisanal and fine dining. I had springbok loin with pampoen tert, baby spinach, sherry and porcini sauce. The chef serves the springbok rare, but it can be well done on request. I’ve never had springbok before or eaten rare meat ( I prefer medium or medium rare depending on where I’m eating), but I thought. When in McGregor, do as the McGregorians do. The meat was very soft and tasty, but I think in future I’d stick to meat that’s done medium. I really enjoyed the pampoen tert as well. My mom had the pan roasted sea bass, ginger pickled calamari, rice noodle, Thai red curry and coconut cream broth and I tried a bit of it as well. It was also really enjoyable, and the red curry gave it a bit of a kick.

Saturday Morning Market

Nearly everyone told us that the Saturday Market is small and short and over in an hour. The market takes place at the church on Church street. It starts at 9 and it is said to only last an hour. We were running late but fortunately got there around 09:20 before everything was sold out. There aren’t many stalls, but if I remember correctly no two stalls sold the same items. We picked up some lovely finds, including a litre of olive oil for a mere R60! I picked up some herbs, treats for Bishop, olive oil and a book.

Walk down the roads of McGregor Village

After visiting the market, we walked down the main road (nearly everything is in walking distance). We popped into some of the shops on the road. We went into a shop that sold jewellery and stones, a gift shop and a few wine shops.

While walking through the town, we also stopped at Bemind, a boutique wine cellar, where we had an impromptu wine tasting. But hey, you can’t go to wine country and not taste wine. I bought a bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc. We also stopped at Rhebokskraal Olive Estate’s shop in the town. They have a variety of olive products and they offer olive and juice tastings. I picked up a delicious smokey olive pate.

Viljoensdrift River Boat Trip and Wine tasting

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to walk through the entire town, as we needed to get to Viljoensdrift Estate for a river boat trip and wine tasting. The estate is on the Robertsons wine route and is 20 to 30-minute drive from McGregor.

We tasted some of their wines and I bought a bottle of their rosé Muskapino (a muskadel and pinotage blend) to enjoy on the boat trip. The estate also has a deli where you can purchase a bunch of snacks to eat while on the ride. The 50-minute trip took us up and down the calm waters of the Breede river.

After, the trip most of us went to the pub to watch rugby. I only stayed 15 minutes, because I’m not a fan of most sports. We then prepared a braai for supper.

The trip was way too short. I wish we had more time to explore the village and surrounds. I really wanted to go on one of the hikes, but no one else was keen. I’ll do a haul post with all of the goods that I bought in McGregor soon.

Overall, we had a lovely time and hopefully, I will see McGregor soon again.

Books

JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

February 9, 2017
JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

In terms of reading for leisure, 2016 hasn’t been a good year. In total I read a whopping 2 books, hence the lack of reviews on the blog. I read Coffee by Little Angels by Port Elizabeth author Nadine Rose Larter and the new Harry Potter book. This JT Lawrence Grey Magic review will be short, as I don’t want to write about any spoilers (or at least any big spoilers).

Due to my reading hiatus, I struggled to get into this book. I literally carried the book everywhere with me, in an attempt to read it. When the cover started peeling and a chunk of pages fell from the spine, I knew that it is now or never. So when I went on an impromptu trip to East London in January, I took the time away from distractions to read and managed to get it half way done. I managed to finish the book on another road trip to King William’s Town.

JT Lawrence Grey Magic review

Raven is a thirty something, modern witch living in Gauteng. She has a website and a very active twitter account. She’s a modern witch who runs into trouble with the law.  She’s kind of hardkoppig, (afrikaans for stubborn), which leads to a lot of her misfortune. If she just had to listen to people, she would have spared herself a lot of misery. But at the same time,  there wouldn’t have been a storyline if she did and she wouldn’t then have grown as a person.

I feel like this book should come with a warning for adult content. The scenes pop up unexpectedly and are quite explicit. Seeing that vampire and witch stories are currently quite popular among tweens and teens, one might pick up Grey Magic.

Without revealing too much of the story line, this is my review of the book.

For a copy of Grey Magic and JT Lawrence’s other books, check out her website. Check out more book reviews here.