Monday, 27 February 2012

The Oscars 2012

Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall at the Oscar parties. To see so many celebrities together, there must be fireworks, tempers, raised eyebrows and hostile glances. I'm sure a thousand air kisses are given and semi sincere "Darling, you look fabulous'. Perhaps I am being cynical. Maybe the celebrity elite are all bosom buddies, wallowing in their fame, fortune and good looks. Either way, I wish I was there.
Wouldn't you have loved to have experienced the detox run-up to the night, the choosing of your gown, the hair stylists and makeup artists and then the cameras and amazing goody bags (I hear that they were giving away children this year).
But I'm not here to talk about what could have been, but what was worn!

The Good:
Angelina Jolie Is certainly a striking specimen. But every picture taken of her is with this strange contorted pose with her leg shoved out of her Atelier Versace dress like she is trying to take a pee.
Gwyneth Paltrow is my star. Taking a risk with a superhero cape, she flies high in this Tom Ford beauty.
Rose Byrne may not smile much but she makes me happy.

Milla Jovovich is a darling. Even if it would make a great wedding dress.
Meryl Streep was wearing gold because she knew she had it in the bag.
Glenn Close will always be a favourite of mine and I love the way this dress hugs her great figure.

Emma Stone can do no wrong although, her makeup is making her look rather washed out.
Ellie Kempler reminding me slightly of a quality street but still sitting pretty.
Michelle Williams looking peachy in Louis Vuitton

Sandra Bullock surprised me in this. I prefer her in more youthful attire but I still like this.
Maria Menounos swirled and swayed and I think this colour is beautiful.



The Bad:
Viola Davis, just because you're nominated for an oscar, doesn't mean you can wear this tacky looking Vera Wang ensemble. 
Natalie Portman. Ok, I know that many of you will find it cute and quirky but this vintage Dior just makes me think of her as a Ladybird. It's perfect for a premiere but in my mind, not the oscars.
Maya Rudolph I love you but you have big tits. This dress makes me think you stuck watermelons in your bra and the colour is neither here-nor-there.

Penelop Cruz you are not Cinderella and this is not a ball. You look like you're trying to be the Queen Mother.
Stacy Keibler. Proving that God is just to make George's date look like the Tin Man's bronzed cousin. The shape is fab but the cheap, gymnastics material is a boo.




What where your faves?


all images from Ghetty Images

Friday, 24 February 2012

Brits

It's all about the music. With that in mind, perhaps I should be more forgiving of the atrocious acts of fashion that almost burnt my eyes out. Never, at one single event, have I ever seen so many terrible outfits. It was honestly a collection of mental patients who dived into a 3 year old's fancy dress box and picked whatever felt nice in their hands.
The only people who knew what they were doing were Adele and Kylie although, even I am getting bored of Adele's constant mourning attire. I mean, come on girl, you dominated the Grammys.

This is where it gets ugly. What where you girls thinking?

Florence looks like the walking dead.
Rihanna reminds me of a pin cushion
Jessie darling, the hair is bad enough but to forget your bra and a dress to go over that slip...tragic!

Emma Bunton was obviously too tired to get out of her nightwear.
Katie Melua proving that it is possible to make a red carpet come back and get it wrong. 
Pixie Lott showing us normal sized girls how NOT to do it

I hate to say this but, us Brits really do not know how to dress. Shameful behaviour ladies.


Happy 1 Year

Wow, sorry dear ones, I seem to have been away for an awfully long time. Perhaps it's been all the love I have been experiencing since I celebrated my 1st year of marriage last Sunday. Or perhaps it's been the new changes that have happened (and not happened). Whatever the cause, I'm sorry and I must fill you in.
On Sunday, Mr H and I headed over to Erinvale Hotel to celebrate our infinite happiness and to eat and drink ourselves into a sweet oblivion. The hotel was where we had our wedding so it was lovely to revisit and recap on the memories PLUS, we got a free dinner and bottle of wine. When there is free stuff, I'm all over it like a hooker fly.

The food, besides from the soup (coconut and prawn which was basically just glorified water), was delicious. Steak with mushroom ragout and sweet potato compote.....yummy. Then apple strudel and white chocolate cheesecake which had me all a tingle.


 We chose the Lourensford Merlot which had us going gooey-eyed and for dessert, Fairview La Beryl Rouge which is the sweetest, tongue-tickling straw wine you'll ever encounter.

You'd be right in thinking that we got a little food/beverage high and so we smartly got Mr H's brother to be our Chauffeur. The plan was fool proof.....until my brother-in-law got in an accident and wrote off his car so the end of the evening was spent sorting that out.

Oh, and to fill you in on the rest, I'm now dividing my time between an events company and freelance work for two businesses so it should be getting very busy now which sort of scuppers my plan of getting another puppy.

How have you all been?



Friday, 17 February 2012

Wedded bliss, Year One


We've done it! On sunday, we will have been married a whole year. Mr H & I are celebrating not killing each other and the love just gets stronger. It feels like only yesterday I was fretting about my dress and the flowers and then there was the whole 'living together' struggle. BUT, we continue to be your above-average smug couple who still partakes in public displays of affection.
How did we do it? Well...

1) We learnt when to shut up. Ok, I'm still learning this because I still like to yap on but we know each others buttons and try not to push them too hard.
2) We like to do things together. We've really gotten in to the whole gardening thing and doing projects together really affirms one another.
3) We drink. Hahahaha....but seriously, another one of our hobbies is wine tasting and doing the pairing evenings.
4) I inflict my baking creations on him and bless his cotton socks, he always finds something positive to say.
5) We laugh. I do this really good impression of a T-Rex, it gets a good chuckle or two.
6) We have the same long term goals.
7) He is incredibly patient. Without that, I'd be a very sad and lonely girl.
8) He buys me chocolate so that I can make cookies.
9) He lets me cry. I do it a lot. I'm a massive wet blanket.
10)  He can read me like a book and knows my 'I'm not amused' and 'I've had enough' face.
11) We find it difficult to breathe when we are apart.

Aw, aren't we cute.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Panama Shack


We have a tour guide friend who is a goldmine for all things to do in South Africa and I find myself often asking him for locations to visit and wine to divulge in. In terms of food, he pointed us in the direction of Panama Jacks, the secret home of amazing seafood in Cape Town.
The area where it is located is in the deepest part of the docks and is surrounded by containers and shipping yards. If it wasn't for the oddly placed Jaguar, I would have thought we were in the wrong place. 

Panama Jacks does stick out like a sore thumb (not so sure of that saying because I've had a sore thumb and it doesn't stick out, it just freaking hurts) with its brilliant blue awnings and plants. We were greeted by two women, this is where I sound a little cruel, who both had greasy dark hair, bad complexions, dishevelled clothes and an "I'm only here for the free smokes" look about them. Nonchalance was king. However, I was determined to be here for the food and once we were seated, I took a greater look round. Jacks is called "Cape Town's best kept secret' and "the place where the locals go' but I think Mr H and I were the only 'locals'. It's a good marketing ploy because in the tourism industry, a lot of visitors like to dip into 'local activities' and feel like they are 'one of us'.

The menu was extensive and everything looked appetising. For the lunch menu, there were wine suggestions for each dish which, as I am a wine-o, was a nice touch.
For drinks, not to be cheap but because I have an OCD with drinking 2 litres of water, I just ordered from the tap. The waitress was not happy about that and when she returned with my drink, she sort of slammed it on to the table and stalked away before I could thank her. But, I was prepared to push that aside and when she returned for our food orders, Mr H ordered traditional fish and chips and I orderd the Malaysian line fish curry.
The food was lovely. The fish was crispy to perfection and the curry was spicy but flavourful, it made my nose run in a good way.

When we asked for the bill, I was quite shocked to see that they had charged me for the rice and Mr H for the chips. I remember reading that on the bill it said 'Add: rice R10. Chips R15' but we had never asked for them and when they came, I assumed they were included in the R62 price. Let me also stress, that the portion of rice was about the size of a 5 yr olds closed fist....maybe even smaller. I was a little put out and the attitudes didn't get much better. I understand that it is an understated restaurant and it has this magical, local & lekker vibe however, when the food is that good and the clientele is that high, it's nice to be served by someone with a genuine smile and warmth rather than by someone who looks like she wants to smack me.

I'm glad I've been there, but I wouldn't want to go again and I think that there are far nicer places to have good fish and a good atmosphere. Anyone else been there or have any better places to go?

Images found here

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Aftermath

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VD has come and gone and it didn't leave too much of a mess. After my partially cynical blog post, I thought I should come clean by telling you that I did cook Mr H breakfast in bed and created a 3 course RED dinner which consisted of the following items:

Sun dried tomato and mozzarella canapes
Chilli Con Carne (With Clos Malverne Pinotage)
Red velvet cake hearts with cream cheese frosting.

And then I threw on some sexy pink underwear and hobbled around like a wounded crab in my only pair of heels. The result was less Betty Boop and more Betty Boo.

I should also add, that I did watch a few soppy movies but I got so disheartened with them that I quickly switched over. I just find it rather frustrating that these movies can be so dreadfully unrealistic. In truth, if Mr H was going to surprise me with a flash mob, it would most likely happen whilst I'm shuffling around Pick 'n Pay with my slippers on and holding a box of heavy flow tampons. And if he ever threw petals all over the bed I'd end up spending the next hour hoovering up the aphids and swallowing antihistamines to combat the allergies. It does not make for good romance.

So the fact that we ended up picnicking on our bedroom floor (yes people, that is where the magic happens) is actually pretty lovey dovey for us. Not that I am not married to a romantic bad-ass, he has his moments, did I ever tell you how he used to fly me over to see him in JHB when I was studying in England? Yes, my man and I can get down and dirty with the romance but in all honesty, it's the love, the quirky moments, the tickles and the burping that floats my boat.

So how was your VD?

Monday, 13 February 2012

V.D


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Valentine's Day is tomorrow and the shops have hearts and red roses filling up their window displays. I now carry around a bag that I can quickly vomit in when I see teddy bears and giant cards that read 'To my cutesy wutesy bunny wunny pie.'
It's not that I hate VD (making Valentine's Day sound like a clinical disease), it's just that I hate the overemphasis on spending cash on stupid items that will be shoved to the back of a cupboard. Obviously, if you receive a diamond bracelet, then I expect you to wear that but I would rather get a gift like that on a day that is special to me, and me alone like my birthday or my anniversary.

Mr H and I have never done VD (now it sounds like a drug). We've just never been that sort of gooey, caramel cupcake kind of couple. We're also not the couple who freaks out when they've made it a month. Seriously? You're actually patting yourselves on the back for being together for a month, doesn't that sort of degrade you in that you are openly admitting that you can't do long term commitments? Perhaps I am being too cynical and maybe that is my problem with VD, I just can't appreciate the mass hysteria that shrouds people and makes men pull their hair out as they try and decide which perfume smells more like flowers and vanilla and which chocolates states 'I love you' most. Oh and I find the chocolates a little ironic too because, correct me if I'm wrong, aren't we women complaining during the other months that we need to lose weight and that chocolates are such crummy and unthoughtful gifts?

So Mr H and I will be having our anti-VD day where we'll dress in grotty clothes and perhaps spend some time in our garden. I'll cook something totally unromantic, with heaps of garlic and chilli, and then we'll watch a horror movie and play some Fifa. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm in fact the one who is being unoriginal by being so pessimistic about VD. So on that note, I think I'll send a nod in the general direction of St Valentine by preparing a Red dinner with Mr H, complete with red velvet cake, red wine and a rare steak.

Anyone got any fun VD activities lined up?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

When food goes bad


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I have so many food blogs that I follow, you would expect me to be cooking up a storm most days. I like to collect the recipes and find new ones for my favourite foods, such as cookie recipes. Yum. But you know what, no one ever talks about the nasty foods, or if they do, they try and hide them behind the term 'healthy' or 'super'. So I decided to be different (how original of me) and thought that I would share with you, the food that I really can't stand:

1) Cucumber. Sometimes, they can taste as though someone is weeing in my mouth. No joke.
2) Oregano. One of the worst herbs this earth can offer. I had a real problem adjusting to SA pizza because they slather them with it and it tastes foul.
3) Dill. The other nasty herb. When someone says 'ooh do you want dill sauce with your salmon?', I say 'Ooh do you want a backhand with your kick in the shin?'
4) Watermelon. I'm growing it in my garden. You would think that I could learn to eat it and I do try it's just that it is so, um, well, watery. And the texture is like eating refrigerated polystyrene.
5) Sushi. Raw fish wrapped in seaweed. It's bad enough that the whole thing reeks of decomposing whale blubber but the texture of slime that invades your senses is enough to send me hurtling for the bathroom. As I'm typing this, I'm retching.
6) Apples and Pears. Only because I am allergic to them. I would stuff them in my face if I wasn't.
7) Cheap chocolate. Nestle chocolate always only ever tastes of sugar, sweetners and slavery. Give me something with a decent cocoa content and I am a happy girly. I'll also take a galaxy bar if you are offering...have I just contradicted myself there?
8) Ox tail. Or any kind of tail for that matter. Something that was so near the 'exit hole' should be kept for that purpose alone.
9) Smoked mussels. Like eating wood that has been on a braai, with the consistency of a rubber. Nah thanks.

Anyone got any food hates to share?


Clash of the Chefs

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Food is instrumental to our survival, yet it has now become more than a commodity, leaning towards the status of 'Institution'. It is an art form. A creative entity. It inspires television programmes, books, magazines, blogs and even movies. It isn't enough to need food to keep our bodies going anymore, we need it as a past-time, a hobby, a means to feel complete and a way of also separating ourselves from those less fortunate than ourselves. Yes, food has become a class divider however, that is a post for a different day. Right now, I'm more interested in the two camps of cooking.

When I want to eat, I separate it into two modes, my cooking - which I take from a recipe that I have found online or in my cookery books - and dining out.
When I cook, I do it to inspire Mr H, to demonstrate my ever-growing skills in the kitchen and to create new flavours. It also has a calming effect on me.
When we go out for food, it's either because I have no inspiration that day or because my culinary skills have yet to reach the level of preparing scallops.
Now, for my part, I like to cook with love and when I dine out, I like to eat the food and feel the love. This is where there is a problem, a divide. On the one side you have the Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver types and the bloggers and on the other side, you have the Michelin star chefs and Gordon Ramsey. The way they cook differs hugely....

Gordon stresses me out. When I see him start to cook on Kitchen Nightmares, or if I watch him on one of his travelling cookery shows, I get heart palpitations wondering when he'll start swearing at the onions. I feel worried when he gets the knifes out, I mean come on, spare a thought for the poor peppers as he rips into them. Surely a man with so much violence and anger must be pouring some of that rage into his food? You can see the gammon shrink away from him on the plate.
Now Jamie, ooooh. Whenever he cooks I see herbs skipping merrily towards him ready to embrace his pestle and mortar. Chickens and lamps jump readily into his oven begging for the warmth and a touch of salt. Every dish is produced with love and joy. When eaten, one might just cry from the passion of it all. It's the same with most bloggers, the adoration they have for their ingredients means that their recipes are ones to cherish and keep. They let flavours and memories make the dish, not fancy words and dry ice (not that I don't love Heston).
The trouble with these Michelin chefs is that though I am sure their food is divine, food of the gods, I can't help feeling that they are purely making food to prove their elitism and to prove their ability rather than creating dishes with gay abundance. But, without these crusaders of food design, I suppose we wouldn't have such a diverse range of dishes.

I think that is one of the reasons why I love Australian Masterchef so much. They have the balance just right. Those guys pour their souls into their food as well as their creative excellence. They cry over their dishes, laugh over their dishes and choose a style of cooking that is personal to them. I can only hope that South African Masterchef will be based on the same fundamentals.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Green Fingers


Armed with saws, rulers, pencils, nails, hammers and other such items that can be used as weapons, Mr H, with help from his brother, set to work building arches for our Vegetable garden. My husband is constantly telling me that he can build anything in his garage so he had a lot to prove.
Starting with just 10 poles of wood, he measured just over 2 metres on 8 poles and cut them down to size. He then cut the left overs into 30 cm pieces and 4 80cm pieces to go across and hold the pieces in shape:



We then carried the finished arches carefully into the back garden. We positioned them next to their final resting places and proceeded to dig holes for the legs to go into. This is where the swear words came in. Last year Mr H spent an awful lot of time putting in a sprinkler system for our veggies and in just one sharp push with the spade, he cut right through one of the pipes:


 He called 'my' mother a lot of things that I dare not repeat and I honestly couldn't stop laughing as he scrambled frantically in the hole trying to patch up the cut he had made. When that didn't go so well, he threw a hammer behind him in rage which landed on his favourite Granadilla tree with led to more naughty, blush-worthy, words.
I walked away at this point to protect my ears and to have a look at my babies. In the pic you can see wild flowers, my prize watermelon, green peppers and marigolds which I adore:


 Finally, the pipe was fixed and the arches went up. It was then my turn to start planting the vines that we bought to cover the arches with and to also plant some seeds that would hopefully shoot up into sweetpeas and the like. Only problem was, the trowel had gone missing. Now no one can say I am not creative, using the only other 'trowel-shaped' tool I could find. I began my work:


Yes, that is a cake slice. I told you I was creative. It worked pretty well too.
So now we have our arches and our vines and growing seedlings. Next step is to get some roses going. I really want it to have a partial English garden feel to it. I think this Bee would enjoy that too:







Friday, 3 February 2012

Holden Manz

The perks of being a "Freelance Writer' with friends in high wine & food places, are that you get invited to all the wonderful launches and events that you would otherwise have to read about on some other lucky git's blog. On Wednesday I was that git and found myself in beautiful Franschoek attending a launch for the delightfully picturesque wine estate of Holden Manz (formally Kleingenot but the English owner had trouble pronouncing that, thank goodness). This estate features a fabulously opulent restaurant which serves the most divine food and a guest house that literally walked out the pages of Elle Decor.



The weather on the day was perfect, not too hot and not too chilly either and the vineyards displayed their emerald leaves proudly. We arrived and where greeted warmly and then shown around the guest house.
I coveted everything. The kitchen was to die for and I could imagine endless hours spent making batches of brownies and Victoria sponge cakes.
 The rooms were all named after colours to which their decor adhered to and the communal dining room and lounge was elegant yet refreshingly modern. They even had a yoga room and spa which I was desperate to try out.

After our tour, we were seated in the restaurant to enjoy a 3 course dinner. It was spectacular. When food is free, by gum, I eat. I finished every single morsel of food which started with baby squid with a lychee and sweet chilli dressing (I had never eaten squid before and I am now hooked) was followed by steak and seasonal vegetables, then finished with a chocolate torte, gluten-free I might add. Paired with Holden Manz wines; a classy Rose and a peppery Shiraz.
Mr H and I will be returning very soon as they have tapas on Sundays which sounds ideal. Imagine lying on asoft plush lawn, surrounded by mountains and vineyards and being fed the best food in Franschoek. Yes, it's pretty perfect right?