We’re moving to the mountains and vineyards

I know I’ve been griping a lot lately about how tough things have been with the girls and this toddler phase. But it’s also been a lot of fun, and we have so much to look forward to in the next few weeks as we embark on a new adventure to a new town.

The anticipation is really building in our house as IP and I have started planning the move and we often fantasise about how life will be in our new house.

stellenboschWe have been so happy in Cape Town and in our current house, but since we’ve had the twins we have started to realise how cramped we are getting here, especially as we don’t really have a garden – and this is something the girls desperately need. So we started thinking about all our options and decided that it was time for a radical change – “Let’s move to Somerset West” I said to IP one Sunday morning. It didn’t take much more prompting than that – the next thing I know we’re house-hunting, and a week later we’ve put in an offer on a beautiful house in an estate just outside Somerset West, and a few days later we’ve sold our house in Cape Town.

Phew….everything happened so fast, it was quite overwhelming. Those who know me, know that I’m not a very impulsive person when it comes to making important decisions – quite the opposite to IP – once he makes up his mind there is no turning back. So I had a few moments of panic once I fully realised what was happening. We were moving away from everything we knew, out of our comfort zone, to the unknown! Eeeek!

But now that most of the legalities are out the way (I don’t want to see or speak to another estate agent or attorney for a long time!!!!) we are starting to get super excited for the big move day. We will be closer to my folks who live in Stellenbosch, which is great as I’ll have some more support when IP travels, and it will also be much easier for IP to get to work from there, as he won’t have all the city traffic to contend with. So it’s a win-win.

But with the move come some big changes for the girls. Our nanny won’t be moving with us so they will be starting play school in January. This is a HUGE deal for me and something I’m struggling to let go of. Even though I know they will be really happy there as I can see that they need something more – more stimulation and more interaction with other kids – it will be a big adjustment for them as they have been at home with either me or nanny for the last two years. So they will totally be moving out of their comfort zone as well, which I’m sure will take a while to adjust to.

My work situation will also improve, though, and I’ll actually get to spend more time with the girls, because instead of working three full days a week I’ll be working five half days – so I’ll be there to pick them up from school and have every afternoon with them, which I’m really looking forward to. It will be so great because now we will also be closer to granny and grampa and we can pop in for tea more often, and my mom and I can go shopping and out for coffee like the old days.

Somerset West is also a very young-ish town with lots of young families and there is so much to do with kids there. From our  interactions with the people there through some of the Facebook groups so far we can see that people also seem really friendly and welcoming – quite a change from the notoriously unfriendly Cape Town southern suburbs where we currently live. We’ll also be slap-bang in the middle of the winelands – surrounded by beautiful vineyards and mountains – and have all the wine farms just a short drive away. The beach is also not far. So there will be lots of exploring in our future – lots of fun family adventures to have as we embrace our new surroundings.

It’s going to be a whole new world for us as a family and the start of a new life. I’m always terrified of change, it’s just part of my nature – I hate the unknown! But I know that this move is for the best, and I’m starting to embrace the change.

I can’t wait! Just a few weeks to go and then the adventure can begin!

But first, the packing…oh boy…wish me luck!

Retail therapy always does the trick

I’m sure all moms have been there. It’s that moment when you sit back and realise, whoa…I’m not superhuman after all. I can’t do it all, I can’t handle it all, and I need a break!

Well after a couple of super busy, stressful, sleepless weeks, I had one of those days yesterday. I took the morning off, left the girls with the nanny, and went shopping.

It certainly did the trick. There is nothing like retail therapy to help you escape the world for a bit.

I found yesterday’s shopping spree even more therapeutic as I went to shop for my Santa Shoebox pledge, which meant not shopping for myself or my own family, but buying goodies and Christmas presents for two underprivileged children.

I found this to be one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had in a long time, as I really realised in that moment just how fortunate my own family, and especially my children, are.

Buying an outfit of clothing, a toy, some toiletries and other essentials for a little boy and girl who would otherwise not be getting any presents for Christmas, who likely wouldn’t be seeing a Christmas tree lit up in their home or scoffing a turkey dinner over the festive season, really made me quite emotional. It was humbling. It was an eye opener. It was just what I needed to put a lot of things into perspective.

I don’t usually think twice when buying my kids clothes or toiletries, or sometimes even toys, but there are so many out there who have so little, and in that moment, I was so grateful for all my blessings.

I can’t wait to extend my little retail therapy session onto Saturday afternoon when I meet up with some girlfriends to wrap up our Santa shoeboxes together over a glass of vino and a proper catch up. It has been far too long!

If you haven’t pledged your Santa Shoebox yet, go do it here now! It’s a great cause!


Wonderful World of Birds

20160605_101347Our girls absolutely love all kinds of animals, especially birds. They always get so excited when they see a bird, pointing up and shouting “dirdie”. So we knew the World of Birds would be a hit, and we were absolutely right. I have never heard so many squeals of delight and exclamations of “wow”.

World of Birds is an interesting place. It’s a wildlife sanctuary for birds and other animals, including monkeys, buck and reptiles. There are some beautiful species of birds to see from all over the world. Some of them are in cages, while others are in open aviaries that you can walk through. They have a number of circular routes you can follow through the aviaries to see the different animals. There is also an open aviary where you can walk through and play with monkeys.

20160605_115440The monkeys definitely stole the show. At first the girls were a bit nervous of them as the monkeys are quite boisterous and jumped all over us. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous of the monkeys myself, thanks to a little traumatic experience of being chased by a group of monkeys as a child while on holiday in KZN. But once we all relaxed it was lots of fun to have the monkeys come sit on our lap and shoulders, and jump on our heads.

The girls just loved seeing all the birds and it was so lovely seeing the look of delight on their faces as we walked around. Both IP and I even felt a bit emotional seeing such happiness on our children’s faces. It was especially sweet that every time we walked out of one aviary into another AG would say “bye bye dirdies”.

Despite the fun, though, I really felt a bit conflicted while walking around there. The place is definitely in need of some TLC. It’s a bit run down and grotty in places and some of the cages and aviaries are definitely in need of a face lift. We’ve often heard rumours that it was even shutting down due to a lack of funding.

On the one hand they are doing fabulous work looking after some creatures that have been previously abused or neglected, but I also felt so sorry for some of the animals there, especially some of the primate species – there were a number of exotic monkeys from other parts of the world that just looked so depressed sitting in their enclosures. They’re animals that are supposed to be swinging free in the jungles of the Amazon or Borneo, not sitting locked up at the bottom tip of Africa.

All in all, though, it was a great family outing, and we will definitely go back to World of Birds soon. Despite my mixed feelings about the place, the girls had a wonderful time, and that was the most important thing. It will be especially nice to see the place in the summer.

You can find out more about World of Birds on their website.

Fantastic day cycling on the Promenade

We recently did something we’ve been wanting to do with the girls for ages – we went for a cycle on the Promenade with them. It was an absolute hit and between lots of giggles and squeals of delight, we know they had an absolute ball!

20160521_105039We hired bicycles from Up Cycles who have a couple of bike stations around the Atlantic Seaboard, including in Camps Bay and at the V&A Waterfront. We hired bikes from the station at the Pavilion on the Promenade and did a circular route up and down the coast heading towards the Waterfront.

There are a couple of options if wanting to cycle with kids – you can hire a bike with a little seat on the front for toddlers or they have these awesome little buggies that two kids can sit in that get pulled behind the bike. We chose the front seat option and the girls loved sitting up front and watching the world go by. To their delight they could reach out and hold the handlebars and often tried to steer – they both even got upset as they wanted to steer on their own.

If you think you get a lot of attention when out and about with twin toddlers, try cycling with them sitting with you on a bike along the Promenade – haha! Just about everyone looked twice as we went by and we attracted lots of stares and smiles. We had so much fun and loved sharing this adventure as a family.

It was such a gorgeous sunny autumn day with the sea sparkling on one side and Lion’s Head looking over us on the other. Lots of people were out and about enjoying the sunshine and it just reinforced for us what we love so much about our beautiful city. We have realised recently that there is so much more to enjoy in the Mother City now that we are parents, and we are making a concerted effort to take advantage of all the great things to do with kids in Cape Town. We are privileged to be able to enjoy such wonderful quality time with our children and this was just the first of many more adventures we look forward to having in the coming weeks and months.
You don’t need to be super fit to cycle on the Promenade as it’s a nice flat route along the coast, so it’s something the whole family can enjoy – granny and grampa too!

We will definitely be back for many more such outings and can highly recommend a cycle on the Promenade for anyone looking for a fun day out as a family.

Thanks Up Cycles for such a great service! If you’d like more info you can visit their Facebook page.


What is happening to our beautiful city?

Cape Town – arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This is my home. This is a city I love.

View over Cape Town from Constantia Nek

But it’s with a sad heart that I write this post. So many terrible and shocking things have happened here in the past few weeks. The crime and violence against women, in particular, has reached such a terrible peak. Two incidents have especially highlighted this: A 15-year old girl was raped and murdered while out jogging in Tokai forest, while another teenager was raped and murdered and her naked body found in the public toilets of Kayelitsha. Similarly, a young women was raped and held captive in Newlands forest. This after a string of rapes and reported acts of sexual assault against UCT students near Rhodes Memorial.

The places where these crimes have taken place are all areas that IP and I, as avid hikers, have enjoyed visiting over the years, and we regularly have taken our dog, and even our little girls, walking in these forests and on the mountain side. But now, we live in fear of going there.

How can we call Cape Town a beautiful city, when it has been tarnished by such ugliness? What is the point saying we live in an amazing city, when we are increasingly being denied the ability to enjoy the beauty around us due to the violence and crime taking hold? It is so sad that this violence has tarnished it. But, it’s also sad that this is a reflection of our society in general. A society that lives in fear – fear of violence, fear of crime, fear of hijacking, fear of other people. We live behind high walls and security gates. Yet even these are not a deterrence – just last night thieves lifted the front gate of our complex right off its hinges (an extremely heavy, massive gate, I might add!) and stole our neighbour’s car.

How do we sleep at night knowing such things are happening right in the very place where we should feel most safe – our home? How do we raise two girls to feel safe and secure in such a violent and careless society? How do we live a normal life in a country that doesn’t even blink when its very own president is a thief and liar? These are serious questions that IP and I have been asking ourselves, and we as parents need to make some important decisions about our future in this city, and indeed this country. We know the grass is not always greener on the other side of the pond, but, from where we’re sitting, it sure looks a hell of a lot safer!