People, Travel

Northumberland / 01

I’ll have to split this post up in to 3 different parts because I’ve taken so many pics and
I can’t cut out too many of them. Last weekend, Sheldon, Eliot and I went to go visit
Rosie, Dickon and their baby girl, Lola, in Hexham, Northumberland. Their home,
Black Hall, is now a B&B, so if you’re in the area, you should go and stay there.

It is so beautiful up there. I loved every minute of it. Long walks, fresh air, getting back
home to a slice of cake and a cup of tea by the fire. Mmm, life is good there! Made me
wonder why I’ve been living in London for so long, when we could have enjoyed a more
peaceful way of life living there.

Yet again, it was so sad saying goodbye, wondering when I’ll see them again. Thinking that
the next time I see Lola, she could be 5 or something ridiculous! Who knows when we’ll
meet again but with true friends, the time and distance doesn’t matter because the day
we see each other, in years to come, it’ll be like we just saw each other yesterday.


Time to say goodbye

So after 12 years of living in London, Sheldon and I have decided to move back home to
South Africa. This has been a big decision for us but an easy one too. We’ve had quite
a tough year and during this time we’ve both realised how we need our family around us. How it would have made things that much easier. It’s been so good living here and I’ve
loved every minute of it. We’ve made so many good friends. Lifelong friends. So the distance will be hard but at least everyone knows they always have a place to stay in
Durban when they want to come visit us in South Africa.

I’ll be leaving here the first week of December and Sheldon will meet me there at the
end of December, once he’s worked his notice in.

I can’t bear the thought of goodbyes for now. At the moment I’m on such a high thinking
about us living back home, close to family and friends – people I haven’t been able to
connect with for so long. So I haven’t really had a chance to think about leaving all the
people I love here. It’s not going to be easy but at least with modern technology like
Skype, email, Facebook, blogs etc, we will never seem too far away.

People, Travel


Had to share some pics from when we went to the Berg with the family.
We had such a relaxing time there. It’s so quiet there – besides the sweet
sounds of me sneezing every 3 seconds . . .

The kids cruising on the swings. They love to swing!

The boys getting warmed up round the bonfire

Sheldon with the other love his life – the papers

And me with the other love of my life – Scrabb

Milla’s pink wellies – everything MUST be pink

Some beaut old tins in the kitchen

We stayed at a friend’s holiday home – loved every second of it. Very spoilt.

Leisure, People, Travel

Dorset 04

Our last day in Dorset was spent playing table tennis, Scrabble, eating breakfast
al fresco, swimming, reading the Sunday papers, having a braai / BBQ for lunch
and then more resting up. Ed, Eliot and Alex went for a long walk – I opted for
a bath while reading my book.

And off he goes foraging with his trug

Still life pics courtesy of the one and only, Alex Dance.

Food, Leisure, People, Recipes, Travel

Dorset 03

Yes, more pics from Dorset I’m afraid. This time I’ve got a recipe to share. Made chilli
con carne from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book, Meat. Nice name.

Before dinner, we headed off to the local pub for a mini festival. I use the word ‘festival’ loosely. It was basically a tiny stage with local performers singing and doing their thing.
We didn’t stay too long. Sat outside, people-watched for a bit, then headed back home
for an early dinner.

Alice and Jonny soaking up some rays

I love Beetles – spotted this camper van in the parking lot.

Chilli Con Carne
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Serves 6-8

1kg coarsely minced beef
500g shoulder of pork, cut into 1cm cubes
250g spicy chorizo sausage, cut into 1cm cubes
1kg tinned kidney beans
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1-5 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp malt, wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 x 400g plum tomatoes
250ml beef or pork stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
½ tsp dried oregano
1-5 tbsp chilli powder
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions until soft and translucent.

Add the meat and stir. Once the meat has browned, then add all the other
ingredients, except for the beans and not too much salt at this stage.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring regularly  and adding a little extra
stock or water if it ever looks dry. Cook for at least 1 hour, maybe 1½ hours,
until the pork is tender and the sauce nicely amalgamated.

Add the beans for the last 20 minutes or so, taste and adjust the heat and
seasoning towards the end of cooking.

Serve with tortillas, either soft or fried as tacos, guacamole and soured cream.
Mmm, he doesn’t say to add grated Cheddar cheese but I think that’s a must.
Oh ya, dollop some sour cream or creme fraiche on top too.

Food, Leisure, People, Travel

Dorset 02

Serious stuff here – setting up the table

Many, many games of Scrabble were played.

This is Sheldon

This is Edward

And there’s Eliot, trying to hide behind Ed

Alex and Ed cooked us dinner – Alex is part of the food testing team at Jamie Oliver.
So she had two different meals to prepare for us. One was a mushroom risotto and the other was a chicken tikka masala. Both were delicious. Quite a random mix but we all wolffed it down anyway.

Food, Leisure, People, Travel

Dorset 01

We recently spent four days in Dorset (Wareham) at Eliot’s parents’ home.
We did a lot of sleeping, tanning, swimming, eating and drinking. Played a lot
of table tennis and even had a go at boules. I love this home and I seriously
did not want to leave.

I like textures – this is part of a wooden corner cabinet in one of their loo’s.

More texture. What is it that makes it so nice to look at?

See why I want to live here?

So funny – trying to make himself comfortable without putting the chair down first.



The start of our lunch preparation – salad with cold meats, cheese, bread and butter.
So simple but so damn good.




Food, People, Travel

Wales in July

We went to Wales again in July – can you tell it’s a good spot for fly fishing? This time
we went with friends of ours, Davide and Hana. The day they went fishing, we went for
a long walk. We ended up walking to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. OK, it’s a really
small mountain but it’s a mountain nonetheless. It took us 2 hours to get up there and
who knows how long to get back – we got so lost!

We ended up walking through a farmer’s field to get to a main road, only to get chased
by this massive pig. We tried to play it cool for a while by walking really slowly, then she spotted us – obviously thought we were a threat to her piglets and she came chasing
after us. Picture the 2 townies running across a field, screaming and bailing over a fence
to safety? My heart was beating so fast. Honestly thought we were going to get mauled
by Mama Pig.

There’s Mama Pig’s big, black, scary leg on the left

Hana’s camera: I want.

Hana’s creation: so good – served with fresh strawberries, raspberries and cream.


Weekend away in Wales

So our weekend away in Wales came at exactly the right time – when Sheldon and I really needed a break. It was just so good getting out of London for a bit. Wales is the perfect place when you want a bit of peace and quiet. Sheldon got to do a bit of fly fishing and I went on a walk, did lots of reading and watched nearly the whole series of Damages!

Aaahh, good times, good times . . .

If you’re interested, this is where we stayed: