Mauritius: why we went all-inclusive (and loved it)

This post is a little late. A year late, to be exact. But you know when you’ve taken so many photos that opening the ominously-titled “Unsorted Mauritius Pics” folder makes your laptop implode, and forces you to kill yourself? Yes. That.

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However, I finally manned up and did it, people. I went through 1,987 photos and no one died. Instead, I was reminded of the absolutely glorious time we had in Mauritius last year, and realised I need to share the memories of our all-inclusive family holiday with the world. By world, I mean you, mom.

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A winter weekend in Franschhoek

The more I visit Franschhoek, the more I fall in love with it. We spent some time wandering around Provence a few years ago and I actually think that Franschhoek is more beautiful. (Not to mention the very important fact that the wine in our South African “corner of France” is a bazillion times cheaper).

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So a couple of weeks ago, when Cape Town was very much still clinging to winter, I dropped everything (i.e. my important series-watching plans) to join my parents and youngest sister on a wine-tasting, food-eating getaway to Franschhoek. And it was MAGICAL.

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Goodbye, Hilton Home

It’s been a nostalgic week. After nearly a decade, our parents have packed up our home in the misty KZN Midlands and moved to sun-soaked Umhlanga. Of course, I had to fly back one last time to visit. You know, to touch everything and cry in the garden and carve my name into a wall somewhere. And take photos, of course.

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So bear with me while I pay my respects to our beautiful white-and-grey house and endless garden. Whenever I go back I feel like a Pride and Prejudice character (Keira Knightley, obvs). There are fields and forests and orchards to wander around – preferably with a mournful look on one’s face – and a roaring fireplace to curl up next to while watching the mist roll in. (This is also one of the reasons for the move. SO. MUCH. MIST.)

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3-ingredient date balls

Most healthy treats don’t taste like treats at all. After nibbling on a raw vegan “chocolate”, trying to convince myself that it’s a slab of Lindt in disguise, I usually end up doing the midnight run to Engen and eating a whole box of Jolly Jammers in the car to make myself feel better. (Which totally works, by the way).

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However, there’s one recipe in the universe that produces a healthy treat so perfect that I would choose it over any biscuit, chocolate or dessert. Coming from a girl who used to ask for Jolly Jammers for her birthday every year, this is not a statement to be taken lightly.

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Seaside sunsets in Struisbaai

With an ocean as magnificently blue as the one surrounding Mauritius (just a bit nippier), miles of walking trails amongst fynbos and little beach cottages, and the freshest, most deliciously deep-fried calamari in the world, Struisbaai – a mere 4 kilometres from the southern-most tip of Africa – is on our list of the Western Cape’s must-see spots.

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Expecting overpriced restaurants, littered beaches and hoards of tourists clamouring for photos where the Indian meets the Atlantic, we were astounded by the quiet simplicity and beauty of this little Afrikaans town. The general architecture and design is pretty kitsch (and completely incomparable to the West Coast’s beautiful Paternoster) but the beaches, the mountains and the sunsets are just a few reasons to put this place on the bucket list.

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The coolest market in Cape Town

Cape Town is a haven for market lovers. I remember when the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill first opened up years ago, people went a little insane with excitement. (I was one of them). Since then, it seems like there’s a new artisanal market on every corner, offering the very best in organic produce, felt hipster hats and leather goods. Milnerton Market is not one of them.

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Not that I don’t love a good felt hipster hat, but sometimes I just wanna go on a damn bargain hunt. Which is when I’ll wake up at 7am on a Saturday, punch this address into my GPS and head off to the only proper fleamarket in this city. Also, I don’t like felt hipster hats. That was a lie.

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Give me all the Pajamas & Jam

I’m trying (and failing) to refrain from writing restaurant views on this blog (that’s what Zomato is for, right?) but every now and then, I find myself dining in a place so fantastic that it deserves its own post. Because Pajamas & Jam is SO MUCH MORE than just a restaurant – it’s a florist, an antique store, and pretty much where I want to spend the rest of my life.

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From the moment you walk through the door, your senses are overwhelmed by glowing candles, boxes of fresh figs for sale and, of course, the smell of their signature lemon meringue. The place is run by a family of awesome women who know their stuff, and their stuff is good. 

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Wining in Wellington

I am a huge fan of wine. I literally have a glass the size of “Big Joe” in Cougar Town, which I keep safe from the lips of housemates on my night stand. So when I was invited to spend the evening tasting the wares of Val du Charron in Wellington, I said SIGN ME UP. Although I’m familiar with the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia routes, I had never set foot in this corner of wine country, and now I’m all like, where can I buy a Made in Wellington t-shirt.

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Well, as you can imagine, the wine was incredible. We arrived in the late afternoon on a balmy summer’s day and were served icy Chardonnay while lounging by the pool. Next, snacks and glasses of Pinot Gris on the deck of the estate restaurant, The Local Grill. At this point you need to know that this is where you’ll find the best bobotie spring rolls on the planet, and I’m unashamed of how many I ate. (Up until this post, you’ve been thinking this was a health blog, right? Wrong.) Read More

The best lunch in Cape Town 

Kate and I grew up in a super healthy home, where we were taught to eat fruit and veg or starve. (Thanks, mom.) Once, at a sleepover, I was fed “pizza” made out of white bread and viennas and my 9-year-old self died a little. Although we’ve become big fans of midnight McDonald’s runs over the years, my mother’s faith in good eating has stuck.

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Today, like her, we’re kinda obsessed with Mary-Ann Shearer. Her philosophy for “Perfect Health” (also the title of her book) is simple and has changed SO many lives, including ours.

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A fresh start

Nothing feels as great as klapping your body with some health first thing in the morning. After gulping down a smoothie filled with more fruit and veg than most people get on the daily, the last thing you want to do is reach into the cookie jar. Good on the hips, but – to be honest – Jen and I are even more concerned about what’s good on the lips.

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Which is why we’ve decided to start sharing some of our favourite smoothie recipes throughout 2016. Take all the ingredients, pop them in your NutriBullet (best thing everrr) or blender, add some ice and blend ’til smooth. Your lips and hips will thank you!

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