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High Tea

Maxwell Williams

Maxwell Williams tableware

Instead of seeing the New Year in in the traditional way, we chose to have High Tea at the Oyster Box Hotel early in January to celebrate the beginning of 2015.

The Oyster Box is a 5 star hotel bang on Umhlanga’s beachfront behind the lighthouse which gives the beautiful views a unique feel.

The colonial style of decor is lovely and so authentic that I almost expected to see Jay Gatsby arrive, with Daisy on his arm.

The concept of High Tea emanates from the English.  High Tea is different from Afternoon Tea in that it is eaten at a table.  Usually Afternoon Tea is to be had whilst seated in low, comfortable chairs.  The difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea is really the height of the table!

Me

Me

The Oyster Box uses Maxwell Williams settings and the pretty pink and white tableware complements the surroundings perfectly.  The service was excellent from the welcoming glass of sparkling wine to the farewells at the end of the afternoon.

The tea table was groaning with delicious food, from savoury to sweet.  I really enjoyed the bite sized eats which made to easier to try a whole range of foods without getting too full.

A highly skilled pianist provided the background music for a memorable afternoon in beautiful surroundings.

Colonial

High Tea table

Teatime treats

Teatime treats

Colonial style

Colonial style

This was my first High Tea experience and I’m hooked.  It’s certainly a great way to see in the New Year.

Petit Plaisir Cottage: Franschhoek

There is something magical about September.

September is my birthday month, it’s Spring and we also usually go on holiday.  In 2011 we went to the Franschhoek Valley and stayed at Petit Plaisir Cottage http://petitplaisir.co.za/web/

The cottage is  beautifully decorated and reflects the unique character of Franschhoek with its French influence.  The self catering aspect gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the wine and cheeses we bought as we wandered through the winelands.

Definitely a place to go back to.  Next September perhaps ?

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Views from the cottage

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Beautiful

Heia Safari Ranch

When my family came from England for a visit, we stayed at Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift. Muldersdrift is a wonderful area for weddings and tourism and Heia Safari is the creation of a amazing space in a beautiful place.

An African Welcome

An African Welcome

Zebra, giraffe, peacock, buck and even a zonkey (cross between a zebra and a donkey), mingle freely with the guests which was a great introduction to Africa for our visitor from New Zealand.

The Resident Zonkey

The Resident Zonkey

My granddaughters were particularly impressed by the giraffe, who passively nibbled away at the top leaves of the trees, blissfully unperturbed by their presence.

He's Really Tall!

He’s Really Tall!

Getting a good shot of the peacock was a real exercise in patience but eventually, he showed off his glorious colours.

The Splendid Peacock

The Splendid Peacock

The zebra like to make their way to the swimming pool for a drink. Swimmers have to vacate the pool when the zebras arrive as the safety of the animals is paramount. They cannot be disturbed as, should they be startled, they may slip and injure themselves.

Zebra Drinking

Zebra Drinking

Good times!

Wildflowers Of The Western Cape

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Photo RL Pieterse

In Spring the wildflowers appear in the Western Cape of South Africa. The area around Langebaan is stunning and the beautiful show continues along the West Coast through to Cape Town.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

The flowers are at their best during August and September and their splendor is dictated by the amount of rainfall prior to the season which can start as early as July and extend right through to October.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

The West Coast flower region boasts more than 1200 species of flowering plants. There are almost 4000 different species of plant seed waiting to be germinated and the displays are volatile and depend on the weather. This means that every year there is a different selection of flowers to enjoy.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

If you are lucky enough to visit the area, you need to get out of your car and walk among the flowers to really experience their glory.  But careful where you walk so as you don’t trample on the lovely show.

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Photo RL Pieterse

West Coast National Park

In the West Coast National Park near Langebaan, there are about 80 species of wildflower which are exclusive to this area. It’s best to go in search of the flowers at the warmest time of the day when they are open. Be sure to view them with the sun at your back, as the flowers turn to face the sun.

Apart from the flowers, many beautiful birds can also be seen in this area. My particular favourite are the flamingo. They stand in the Langebaan Lagoon and the pink and white display is stunning.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

The Park boasts a population of tortoises, whales, sand sharks, porcupines and dune moles. In the Postberg section, you can see eland, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, kudu and mountain zebra.

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Photo RL Pieterse

Some of the flowers don’t open when the weather is cloudy or overcast so, if you can, view them on a sunny day. It goes without saying that you may not pick the flowers!

When you go in search of the wildflowers, wear light clothing, preferably with long sleeves. Cover your legs too, as there are plenty of insects hovering around the blooms.

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Photo RL Pieterse

I love to see the wildflowers against the vast expanse of the sea. It makes such a spectacular landscape, especially when you add a whitewashed cottage to the horizon.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

Wildflowers mean that the flowers grow in the wild and were not intentionally planted in any way, either in plant or seed form.   I saw the wildflowers for the first time last September, when we visited Langebaan. This year, we holidayed in the Winelands and Cape Town and colourful bursts of flowers were everywhere.

Wildflowers of the Western Cape, bringing beauty to what could have been such ordinary spaces.

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Photo RL Pieterse

Aark, Vanderbijlpark

I appreciate it when man (or woman) creates beauty in an uninspiring space, as I discovered when we stayed at Aark Guest Lodge, Vanderbijlpark, next to the Vaal River.

It was comfortable and pleasant and the themed rooms added to the lodge atmosphere   – we stayed in the Zebra suite, as you will see from the beautiful photographs which hung on the walls.

An unusual picture of a zebra

Our room had a Zebra theme

View from the breakfast room

Swimming pool area

A warm fire in the breakfast room