Tag Archives: camping

Not dogs, not playing rummy


It snuck up on me. Like a stealthy, well-trained ninja, hell-bent on destruction. I thought I was safe. I thought I was we’ll-protected – I take a multi-vitamin. But there it was lurking in the corner, ready to pounce as I woke up last Monday morning and clawed my way out of bed. I didn’t notice immediately, it being that well disguised. It was only as I sat in traffic, in the gently glowing sun, that I realised how deeply, and completely, exhausted-to-the-bone I was.  And it only got worse as the morning wore on. No amount of coffee, not even coffee administered intravenously, could ward off the weariness. And that’s when I began to brew my plan.


I made a Fooble (Facebook and Google) request for some suggestions of a spa where I could have my nails done while lying down having a nap (so I could multi-task, you see, like all moms do). I got some great responses from friends – and a few weird ones from my brother – and finally settled on Riverview Spa in Muldersdrift (www.riverviewspa.co.za). Because it was the week of Essentials’ magazine print deadline we had a half day on Friday so I decided to make it a full day off.

pattiserie belle

I woke up on Friday morning and decided to treat myself to a brekkie to kick-start my day off. I stopped in at Patisserie Belle (www.patisseriebelle.co.za), a gorgeous little eatery that serves delicious light meals and is decorated in the opulence of sixteenth-century France. I had an omelette that was as light and fluffy as a cloud stuffed full of cheese and mushrooms and it was fabulous! I sat all alone reading my Country Life magazine and sipping my cappuccino. I’ve never done this before (gone out for a meal alone) and I don’t know why – it was peaceful and relaxing and I could do whatever I wanted to do. It was a promising start to my weekend of wellness.

I followed my breakfast up with a couple of hours baby-and-husband-free clothes shopping, another thing I’m not used to. It’s so much easier trying on clothes when you don’t have someone tugging on your arm to leave, and not having a baby there either also made it less if a chore.  And then I went for my spa treatments.

Imagine, if you can, a place in the countryside nestled between the hills and alongside a babbling brook. A place where the birds sing, butterflies flit and the bees happily collect their pollen. This idyl is Riverview Spa. And it’s a mere 20 minutes from Randburg. I was gently led to a covered wooden deck overlooking a swimming pool and the hills in the distance. I lay down and floated away as the melodic tones of gentle pan flutes carefully caressed my aching body and tired mind.

I woke an hour and a half later with very pretty pink toes and finger nails and a quietly soothed and restored body. As I drove down the dirt road and away from my temporary sanctuary that had saved me from temporary insanity, I mused about the appropriate start to my weekend of wellness.

packed car

Saturday dawned bright and early (ok not bright, it being early in winter in Johannesburg) with the soft cooing noises (read: loud shouting) of baby Holly playing as a soundtrack to the dawn. We packed the car and headed off to the Vaal Dam for a short getaway with friends. Just a quick aside here: going away for one night with a baby requires the same amount of luggage two adults alone would need to go camping for three weeks. The rest of the weekend was spent  doing all the things my tired, drained and cluttered mind and body so badly needed for restoration. We drank magnificent wine (ALLÉE BLEUE STARLETTE PINOTAGE 2012 – about R42) , ate tasty food and gorgeous pudding and played Mexican Train (an entertaining domino game) with Arrested Development on TV in the background. We laughed, joked, caught up on each other’s lives and teased one another – something I’ve not done in a while and something I definitely needed.

Ballée Bleue

Ballée Bleue

So as we drove home on Sunday afternoon and I wrote my very late blog post, I pondered the importance, the necessity of friends, and how some friendships are so special, that regardless of how long you haven’t seen one another for, things are exactly the same as they were when you last left off. And, in the  weird and random words of the back window of a taxi I once saw: when times are dark, friends are few. How patently untrue.



Birthday bizarre


A few days ago we celebrated Caryn, our fashion editor’s birthday and with this being a new blog and March being my birth month, I’ve been thinking a lot about birthdays. Particularly mine. I’ve always believed that my birthday is the most important day of the year and fully expect others to see it as such too. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because I have an overblown sense of importance but rather because I get so unbelievably excited about my birthday that I want everyone to feel as happy as I do. I still count the sleeps until my birthday from at least a month before the big day and I start right after Christmas with the, ‘You can get me those shoes/that car/pink fluffy things/those earrings/an orang-utan for my birthday’ to my long-suffering and patient Mister. Bless him – I used to wake him in the middle of the night and demand, drill sergeant-style, ‘When’s my birthday, Mister?’ This may have been a cruel and unusual method of getting him to memorise my birthday, but it worked – he’s never forgotten it! So there’s a top tip for you: If your own Mister has the tendency to forget your birthday you might want to try this tactic. It’ll work for memorising shopping lists and anniversary dates too.

I’ve been trying to decide how I should celebrate my birthday this year, 33 being a weird in-between kind of number that’s neither here nor there, and I’ve been struggling to find something that really excites me. Because I still believe myself to be 17, there’s the part of me that really wants to cake on the make-up, get tarted up and put on my dancing shoes to go clubbing. But then, when I start thinking about the logistics of a babysitter (not too many 17-year-olds have to worry about that), a designated driver, that my dancing shoes are actually quite uncomfortable and will pinch my toes, what to wear and the crucial afternoon nap before the big night out, I get really tired and just feel like lying down.


So, clubbing it won’t be, but how about a weekend away with friends? I began thinking about possible travel destinations and how to accommodate the incongruous tastes of all the friends. I know my husband is quite fond of rubbing a couple of sticks together and playing with fire, what man isn’t, so he’d quite enjoy eating straight out of a tin of baked beans while camping. But there are the friends who refuse to roll off an air-mattress onto the floor, pick leaves and insect bodies out of their hair and begin the day with a spring in their step. They require a comfy bed, crisp white linen and a hot bath to get a spring in their anything, so camping is out of the question. There are the friends who’d like a sophisticated hotel, with lie-ins in the mornings, fabulous high teas in the afternoon and elegant dining experiences in the evening. Think Sex in the City meets the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

And then there’s me, with a seven month old baby. The words sophisticated and elegant no longer feature in my vocabulary (having been replaced with ‘milestone’ and ‘smelly nappy’) and probably won’t for at least the next 19 years. Right now, with an average sleep count of approximating 4,34 hours per night, an ideal holiday destination for me would be a lumpy couch. Or a yoga mat on the floor. Or even a towel under the tree in my garden. You see, my standards for holiday destinations at this point are not very high, so I’ll be really easy to please.

If you’re also looking for a great place to get away from whatever for a little while, somewhere that doesn’t feature the aforementioned lumpy couch, the March issue of Essentials has some great travel destinations for you to peruse while you soak away your worries in a hot bath with a glass of wine. There’s a beach holiday, a country stay or a couple of bush breaks to choose from. Whatever floats your boat down a meandering river, or blows your hair back on a hike, you’ll find it in the March issue.