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Kirstenbosch – a place for all seasons

Kirstenbosch shouldn’t need an introduction for anyone who knows much about Cape Town. It truly is a place for all seasons – in more ways than one.
Literally: the ultra-expert team who keep Kirstenbosch looking like the world-renowned botanical garden it is, ensure that it looks spectacular no matter the season. In South Africa it’s spring-time, and the flowers put on quite a show when I was there a few weeks ago.

But it’s all the place for all seasons of life. Right now, in the the season of little children, it’s a place to explore, to run off extra energy, a giant playground.

Pre-kids, this was our Sunday afternoon concert hall. Kids and their busy-ness/schedules/illnesses have prevented regular Sunday afternoon visits to Kirstenbosch’s Summer Sunset Concerts, but we’re hoping this is the summer we get back there more regularly. I highly recommend them if you’re in the area, an amazing venue to listen to the best in SA music. Click here for the 2016/2017 schedule.

We’ve already booked our tickets to see Jeremy Loops and Goldfish – who are you keen to see?

Parc Guell

Five reasons Barcelona is a fantastic family travel destination 

Barcelona had been on my radar for a while, as a beautiful city, and for its architecture and food – in fact I rated it as one of the top destinations that we had not yet visited. So we included it in our 2015 trip to Europe with our young kids (age 1 and 4). What I didn’t anticipate was quite how fantastic a destination it would be for our family. It was probably the most family-friendly part of our trip, and here’s why:

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Life lately at the tip

After years of attempts and thoughts and stops and restarts, this blog finally seems to have found its place in my life, and looks like it might actually get off the ground. This is equal parts exciting and terrifying! Exciting because I feel like I’ve finally found a niche I can settle in to, but so nerve-wracking to put my writing skills on display.

Today possibly summed up the point where my reality meets this blog really well:
Poppet’s school holiday started today, and it’s also her 5-and-a-half birthday – she’s been asking for months when that day will be so it’s been built up a lot.
Roo still had swimming as usual in the morning, so I told Poppet we’d do something special for lunch.

This ended up being a trip to the ever-popular V&A Waterfront …

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Ten tips for traveling with kids

When we told people we were taking our 4 and 1 year old daughters to Europe for a month, many of them looked at us like we were crazy! Some smiled politely – but you could tell they’d rather have root canal.

But off we went in September 2015! There were times we thought we were a little crazy too – but it turned into an amazing and unforgettable adventure.

In future blog posts I’ll tell you more about specific places we visited and things that worked for us, but here’s a more general list of tips for a successful family holiday.

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Clifton

This little tip of Africa where I live…

We call it Cape Town, acknowledged as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Land of contrasts, melting pot, rainbow nation … So many terms that sound quite romantic.

As I set out on my blogging journey, do I focus solely on the fun, the pretty, the warm-and-squishy – or do I also blog about the difficult, the fact that our rainbow is very lopsided and weighed down by inequalities? The fact that, for many of my fellow South Africans, living at this beautiful tip of this beautiful continent is tougher than glasses of wine overlooking vineyards and sundowners on the beach?

When I “Dream beyond”: do I dream only of far-off destinations that can be reached by hopping on an plane? Or do I also dream beyond the current realities that all of us at this tip face? Do I look for ways to turn dreams of hope for the children at this tip, into reality?

Okay, enough flowery, dreamy waffle! Where is all this coming from, you ask?

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San Gimignano

Dream with me back to 2006…
As part of a 5-week back-packing trip around Europe, we spent 2 days in the little Tuscan village of San Gimignano.

This is one of the most famous Italian hill-top towns, beloved for it’s many towers, medieval architecture and magnificent views.

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Brunch at Groot Constantia wine estate

One of the great aspects of our neighbourhood is the proximity to the Constantia Valley and its wine route. The tourist heartbeat of this route is Groot Constantia. At less than 10 minutes drive from home, it’s a great place to take the kids to feed ducks, run on the rolling lawns or grab a bite to eat.

This past Sunday we headed to Jonkershuis restaurant on the estate for brunch. As I’d already had cereal at stupid-o’clock when the kids got me up, I opted for a croissant. Hooray, a local spot that serves proper flaky, buttery croissants, as opposed to the chewy substitutes that seem to be more prevalent in Cape Town. The husband had a great full English breakfast. Prices are a little inflated as one would expect for a tourist spot with a view, but not overly so. And the view is pretty darn special.

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Dreaming Beyond

Helloooo there! I’ve decided to call you my future readers for now, since this blog is currently an infant and hasn’t been taken out to visit anyone yet.

So the second part of my blog’s name – Dreaming Beyond – is an attempt to reconcile the fact that I drool at the idea of being a Travel Blogger; with my reality as a mom living at the very bottom of Africa, with 2 young kids and a husband with a successful, full-time, Cape-Town-located job. So for now I’m dreaming: about the travelling we’ve done in the past; the many, many places I still want to see; and figuring out how to hold my dreams and my reality together. Not sure yet where this blog will take me – figuratively and literally!

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Stellenbosch – a day trip to delight the senses

We recently had that rare opportunity of a free weekend – absolutely nothing in the calendar! A day trip was clearly needed, and this time we chose Stellenbosch as the destination.

First stop – wine tasting of course. We went with the gorgeously Provençal Waterford estate. Because wine paired with chocolate.

Waterford just oozes French charm. Their lavender wasn’t at its most glorious, but there’s still plenty to admire.

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Postberg – a Spring flower day trip

I have clear memories of childhood day trips to see the flowers on the West Coast. Some of these memories were probably cemented by the fact that I lost a tooth on one trip – and amazingly the tooth fairy found me and left a coin under a bush!

So I was really looking forward to taking our girls this spring, and did so a few weeks ago. We went to West Coast National Park, about 1-1.5 hours outside Cape Town, and home to the beautiful Postberg Flower Reserve which is only open during flower season (August and September).

An early start is recommended as the reserve can get crowded later in the day. Vygevallei farm stall on the R27 is a useful coffee pit stop, with lawns, a jungle gym and a few farm animals to keep the kids entertained.

The entrance to West Coast National Park is directly off the R27. Visit their website for the latest details on opening hours, costs etc.

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