Holiday Highlights

Hello everyone! Happy 2018 – how crazy is that? I saw a meme the other day that said 2040 is closer than 1990. I’ll let that sink in.

Anyway, it’s good to be back, and this year is shaping up to be one of big changes, both personally and work-wise. But more on that another time, for now I want to share my festive highlights

Sentir Tapas and Spirits

For me, good holidays are spent with family and friends, paired good food and drink. The friends and family were the same as most years, but notable gastronomical (re)discoveries included Sentir (above Loaves on Long), The Africa Café, Saigon and La Grapperia at Spice Route. Any day that sees a bottle of Rust en Vrede Estate on the table is a fantastic one in my eyes (we had a few), as well as dustings of Raats, Ken Forrester, Colmant and many, many gins; my favourite of which was Six Dogs Blue. There will be a ‘best of’ drinks post coming at you soon.

The sun setting on 2017

It just wouldn’t be NYE in Cape Town if the weather were behaving, so not to let any of us down, it poured with beautiful, much needed rain. Thankfully a ‘spot of drizzle’ never got to a good piper, so we were still able to watch the last sunset of the year snuggled on Scarborough beach listening to a few of the Cape Town Highlanders doing what they do best. I grew up in Simonstown, so love to be able to be back in the ‘deep south’ to see out the year.

Dawn of 2018

I was back that side at 04.30 on New Year’s morning to see the first sunrise of 2018 from Fish Hoek beach (admittedly my sister and I were far less optimistic getting out of bed than we had been planning it). But we were both glad we did, as we were treated to the most spectacular Monty Python-esque sunrise I’ve seen in years. The beach was full of the most bizarre mix of people (those of you who know the town will know that in theory this is nothing out of the ordinary, but this group would probably make the top ten). There were perky morning people doing yoga, the old biddies going for the daily dawn dip, left over revelers who had forgotten to go home and had started drinking again, a highly efficient and dedicated City of Cape Town cleaning lady, an odd man who took at least 100 selfies in the exact same place, and Liz and I. It was great. Everyone had brought their own crazy, were owning it, and were all just starting as they meant to continue. Which, for Liz and I was that we should ALWAYS bring our own coffee (the coffee truck man was late, hungover and hysterical) and food to any event.

Long Beach, Noordhoek

Speaking of beaches, we managed to get in some quality beach time these holidays, too. I often steer well clear of them at this time of year because I can’t handle crowds, looking for parking or queuing for toilets. But my husband is a fair more patient person, and persevered, and we had some wonderful sun, sea and sand filled days as a result. I will try harder to play better with others this year. I’m not promising anything, mind.

My ride or die girls (also, boys can’t be trusted to take photos)

Friendsmas is something we’ve done for a few years now, and it’s one of the highlights of my year. We have a close, tight-knit group of friends who we see often, but having a Christmas dinner together before everyone goes off on holiday seems more special than any other of our get togethers. This year was extra special because two of our friends are moving overseas next year. We’re going to see each other as much as we can this year, as seeing them go is going to be tough. Really tough.

Okay, so while the next thing is something I’m really glad I did, I wouldn’t exactly have called it a ‘highlight’ while I was doing it. Angelo and I have been training with our wonderful trainer, Ant*, for a few months now, and we’ve both seen vast improvements in our strength, fitness and overall health. Ant wasn’t taking a break, so we kept our usual weekly schedule – which saw us sweating our arses off on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We hit the new year hard this morning, and am so glad that we didn’t slack for those two weeks, as we would have both struggled to get back into the swing of things.

Anyone that knows my family knows that we are pretty tight (my sister is married to my husband’s brother), and we always celebrate Christmas together. We often take in waifs and strays, but this year we hosted and it was just us, the moms and the kids, which was wonderful because it is our last Christmas in our current house. (Building on the new one starts in a matter of weeks – eeek!) Two more puppy additions to the family added to the chaos, but we loved it. We do an Anglo-Portuguese Christmas lunch with English gammon, turkey and roast potatoes paired with Pora clams and peri-peri prawns, topped off with pasteis nata and my tiramisu.

I don’t exactly feel rested, but I do feel like I’ve had a break. Let’s do this, 2018, I’m ready for you!

I’d love to know what your holiday highlights were – let me know in the comments below.

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