Sunday, 8 July 2012

Blogging FAIL! :)

Hmmm, so to cut a long story short - I get a big F for FAIL at my blogging attempt!

In all fairness though here are my excuses:

New house,
New job,
The death of my father,
The retrenchment of hubby
The re-hiring of hubby
Birth of my niece (YEY)
The death of my family pets
Full time teaching (which is NOT child's play ... lemme tell you)
Exam time 

Needless to say that the last few months have been likened to a rather large kick in the pants.
So let us move forward with a smack on the hand and the utterance of "bad blogger - BAD" and I won't do it ever again ;)

See you soon  ...
...Well technically I won't see you EVER unless I see you out of the context of blogging - but you get what I mean.

P.S - the hubby is making tomatoe soup and grilled cheese to dip - hom nom nom. This is doubly exciting as it very very chilly and raining.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Quick Update on Life

I have to start this post with the most exciting news in a little while ... I'm going to be an AUNTY! Yes, my dear little sis is preggie and the new addition to our family will be arriving in April (I told you Kate had something up her sleeve). I have decided that I need a super uber cool auntie name: thinking Auntie Loo Loo (second part of my name Tracey-LOUISE) - but it is a work in progress. Any suggestions welcome. I am rather glad that Kate has decided to contribute to the world's population first - I have a mild phobia of babies (I feel I'd drop it or paint it or try eat it by mistake) and so I wouldn't mind giving hers' a test run before I make up my mind on having one... looking after it I mean, not painting or eating it!

Hmmmm- so, 6 weeks of being sick and I have finally hauled myself off to the doctor and am on the mend - Yey. I will possibly even be able to go back to my ballet class that I have been missing intensely.

I created a number of posts in my time "off"- but I have decided not to publish them as, on review, most of them are lamenting my illness and describing in detail each symptom. In the interests of keeping my readership growing I will definitely not publish the one written on the benefits of taking the 'all natural' garlic/herbal immune booster I chose to take ... mainly because the only benefit I found in taking it was that you can clear a room (from both ends) in under 20 sec.s; garlic aroma intact!

I found a rather fun idea on pinterest and have included it below instead of writing a loooong post today (which also may in part be attributed to laziness).

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

It's art ... just not necessarily 'Fine Art'.

Right, seeing that this blog advertises on the premise of my being a mad, lost artist I thought I was about time I substantiate the claim.

Mad -Oh yes, I even have the pills to prove it ;)
Lost - Yup, more and more as I venture out my flat to explore Cape Town ... especially with the crazy curly off ramps.
Artist - I attend a once weekly life drawing class... that counts right? No? Well then I'm posting my latest creation below:

Two of the soon to be four decorative paper cuttings for my door.

What is it you ask? Why it is a decorative paper cutting for the two upper panels of my glass front door. It might not quite be the likes of the next Rembrandt ... but it is a Brandt original :) I'm working on the lower two panels that are about double in length. At the moment I believe there will be teacups, proteas, mice, cats and owls (just for the fun of it). We will however not be putting a limit on what the brain conjures up.

In other news : 
Johno and I saw a pod of WHALES on our way to a dinner date with our cousin, Jill, in Fish Hoek on Friday. We believe there were about 3 or 4 humpbacks splashing about and generally having a whale of a time (the crowd shakes it's collective head at the bad pun)! The dinner by the way was delicious ... ironically my cousin lives in a tiny turn of the century whaler's cottage. We were so thrilled at seeing whales that we dragged Johno's mate, Sean, to Kalk Bay on Sunday and we not only saw MORE whales, but also a few Cape Fur Seals (close up). Later there was also a delightful encounter with a Bloody Mary and a very comfy couch ... but I shall leave that for the next post where I will put up a few of the talented hubbies photies, and some dubious photies of me relaxing on said couch.

I am also now the proud part owner of a company ... more details to follow, but the hubby has been very busy working on the net.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Mom's famous (or infamous if you are dieting) chocolate crunchies!

On the grounds that I spent two days playing around with some design I thought I'd post my creation on my blog for all to see. As an added bonus the recipe card has my mom's famous chocolate crunchie recipe (click on the image to see it larger). For those who have tried them - here is the secret. For those that haven't ... all us converts urge you to give them a bash - once you have tried them, you'll never look back.

This is an old family favourite and, in mentioning family, I must admit that the idea for this post was shamelessly plagiarised off my sister's blog (A South African in New York - go visit, she always cracks me up and has some cool stuff). I also rather like my brother-in-law's description of the crunchies "like chocolate brownies on crack"! As kids Kate and I both loved it when my mom made these for us and quite often they would fly out of the old battered cake tin ... much like they have done recently when I baked them this weekend.

For those of you that know both of us (Kate, dearest younger sister, and myself) - stay tuned to Kate's blog - she has something really cool up her sleeve for her next post.

Picture from A South African In New York

Well, adieu, until the next post (probably also to be typed at around 1am). In the words of one of my students today (who showed great ingenuity in a simile exercise I gave them in class) - stay as cheerful as a UV light!

P.S - I have the featured recipe card above as a blank recipe card ... would anyone be interested in me sticking up here as a free printable PDF ?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Left ...left...LEFT...LEEEEEFT !

Reduced to a mute and aching shadow of my former self, I toil onwards in the quest to educate the masses, despite their virulent cold and flu bugs they bring to the class (an particularly the teacher)! Thus, I find myself with with a smidgen of extra time as I have returned to invalid status, and the logical conclusion was to update the blog before the husband returns to shoo me to bed.

Linda loo (also known as the particularly talented and now widely published Linda Downsborough) has just left the Cape after a whirlwind tour to her favourite home away from home and comfy inflatable mattress. It was delightful having her here. The visit gave me an excuse to gallivant around Cape Town and spend the copious quantities of money (sadly lacking, specially now, after the fact) on take aways. A highlight of the trip included our trip to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and our arduous hunt for the elusive King Protea, we found the flower in question after what seemed like a 10 hour hike uphill. Probably the most delicious treat of the weekend was the gorgeous HUGE, fluffy, buttery scones with jam and cream that I had for lunch at the tea house.

The title incident of the blog happened on our trip to the gardens. Noting the snow on the distant mountains, Linda pointed it out to me. Yours truly looks out the right window expecting to see snow on Table Mountain. It was pointed out to me that, infact, the snow was to the LEFT. Some where between the exchange: “ Left” (Tracey looks right) ... “left” (again Tracey looks right) “LEFT” (Tracey looks harder right) ... LEEEEFT (Tracey has her head forcefully turned for her) , an offramp conveniently located to the left appears. Our long suffering driver (Johno) of course turns violently “LEEEEEFT” as, by pure chance, our snow 'pointer outer' was also our designated navigator. This in turn has lead to the 'No Directional Remarks While Johno Is Driving Rule'.

Blouberg Bay ('blue mountain bay' for those of us who do not understand Afrikaans), visited last Monday, was another GORGEOUS outing. Linda and I sat on the verandah of the Blue Peter Hotel eating our lunch (chicken and mayo toasted sarmie) and soaked in the sun's warmth, the sea and the vista of Cape Town nestled under Table Mountain. We took a walk along the beach (I collected and smuggled another few boulders in my handbag as momentoes). We also took a scenic drive and passed Ons Huisie (Our little house), now a busy restaurant but once a tiny sea front home known to be around as far back as the 1850's. This has cemented an idea that I had a while ago ... I want an old origional fisherman's cottage. Johno and I have always envisioned living in a pint sized fishing cottage on the edge of the shore ... now I know they are really out there, I want one ... imagine it, kitchen/living room downstairs, mezzanine bedroom – big enough to fit the bed and a kassie (chest) and the loo adjoining. Usually in my fantasy I'm a traditionalist, with wood fired stove and no electricity, but I may just have to have my loo adjoining and not a hole outback! Right, al sorted ... now I just have to win the lotto.


We all (Johno included) decided to hit Long street for cocktails (it being a public holiday the next day and all – Women's Day). This was our first trip to Long street since arriving in Cape Town (yes, I can feel all my ex-Rhodes Uni friends slapping their hands to their heads and wondering why we didn't pillage this natural alcoholic resource earlier). We settled on Cape to Cuba, a gorgeous (if a little 'hyper-Cuban) restaurant up a tiny flight of blue and white tiled steps. We drank fancy cocktails on the balcony while people watching. I had a rather dashing strawberry concoction, and I would like to note, real strawberries were used. Hom nom nom! Mr Pickwicks was next – a rather ... interesting... nouveau-kitsch cafe/ club serving everything from hard liquor to milkshakes in assorted flavours, colours and sizes. I was a party pooper, forgoing the milkshake in favour of some hard tack watered down with coke and lime!

The next day were were up and about by an uber early 11am. We dashed to the castle of Good Hope, just in time to see the signal cannon firing – Johno was delighted. We tagged onto the back of a tour group and learnt our history for the day. It reminded me to do some research on a great great grandfather- a Colonel Hassard, Native Commissioner, who kept Cetshwayo (Zulu King) in the Castle. The second half of the day was spent at the Company Gardens ... the original gardens started by Dutch settler Jan Van Riebeek in the 1600's as a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Trading Company (but now refurbished to a later romantic Victorian style). It was a gorgeous day and the gardens were dotted with picnic and couples. We took a quick turn around the perimeter and saw some very cute squirrels. Unfortunately the tea garden was having a lunch rush and I was starving, so we waited, and waited, and waited. I ended up getting pissed off and gave myself a combo of a tension & a hunger headache. Lesson learnt ... pack a snack on outings ... low blood sugar Tracey is an ANGRY devil!

And thus endith a week of gallivanting around Cape Town and onto a week of recovery it seems (as I type between sips of my Med Lemon ( foul, nasty, flu drink) and and my attempts to cough up a lung.

Do you have any hidden gems and generally cool places you have found in Cape Town? Leave a comment, let me know and I will make a point of hunting them out.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Babies and T-shirts and billtong eating cats.

Right, you know you have been infected affected by the nerd virus when you start picturing your husband wearing these:

Find it here

Find it here

Find it here

The following were taken from cotygonzales's awesome T-shirt blog (he has plenty more cool T's on his site).

And in other news:
Yesterday the amazingly talented Tracey Brandt managed to single handedly look after a toddler and a 3 month child. The situation teetered on the verge of disaster when the baby woke up crying, but Tracey handled it seamlessly by initiating a 3 point tactical manoeuvre ... change diaper, feed and burp (the crowd roars in the background). In case you are wondering, this is the first time I have looked after such young children (and held one for more than a few minutes) by myself. I thought I did pretty well, no one got dropped or misplaced!

Other highlights of the week include: 
  • The discovery that Woof, our cat, enjoys billtong (jerky type meat) almost as much as we do; 
  • No students falling asleep in my tutorial; 
  • Killing my car battery (yup... no amount of jumper cables could help) - so getting lots of fresh air and exercise;
  • The prospect of Linda coming to stay tomorrow :D YEY :D ;
  • Some random bomelaar (hobo) stealing the drainpipe outside;
  • And the police visiting our block of flats ... again (not related to the above drainpipe incident but instead due to our dodgy neighbours).

For all those foodies out there... I have recently joined the Observatory public library and found the coolest cookbook: The Masala Cookbook by Parvarti Narshi and Ben Williams. Look out India, Tracey is about to take on the art of curry making and sweetmeat... hmmmm sweetmeats. I developed a taste for sweetmeats when I was much younger thanks to shameless indulgence over Diwali , mainly due to my friend Nevadna Sing arriving at school with boxes of the stuff! :) I'm just DYING to make burfi and goolaab jamboo - hom nom nom

Picture Courtesy of the Sunday Metro

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Life After Jo'burg

So, after just over a month down we're back up online, and life in Cape Town begins in earnest.

A quick update on the practicalities of our life: I have started tutoring at SAEP, an outreach organization where I am teaching English to post matrics. Johno retains his unfathomable job as a web developer, but now he's working two jobs, like a slave, and comes home at 7.

Our flat is very cute. Its lovely and spacious inside and we have a proper OVEN – yes, a whole one, all to ourselves! The only downside is that the house tends towards the shady side, making it chilly ... oh, and there seem to be a surplus of random children running around and making a racket. I swear, back in my day children were quiet and well behaved, seen and not heard ... also in my day pies didn't cost R11 and politicians spoke the truth! ;)

So what have Johno, Woof and I been up to? Well Johno I have been out cruising round Cape Town while Woof has been alternatively locked up and then beaten up (he seems to be on the smaller side amongst the local male kitties). Johno and I on the other hand have had better luck and have been having great fun checking out the local sights and sounds.
So far we have:

  • Ridden up Table Mountain in a cable car (next time we will hike)
  • Checked out some penguins and cousin's house in Simon's Town and Fishhoek
  • Eaten fish and chips in Houtbay
  • Eaten at the Old Biscuit Mill (so hip and vibey but usually packed with people)
  • Made friends with our neighbours
  • Had my parents over
  • Unpacked a few boxes
  • Caught flu
  • Bought a R350 exercise machine from Parow

Thus from the above evidence you can surmise that life has been rather hectic, and fun. My gorgeous Victorian tub (complete with feet) has come in rather useful to soak away the babalas and tired muscles! Our most worthwhile purchase so far has been a large bottle of bubblebath!

All this being said ... is life better in Cape Town compared to Johannesburg? It is definitely prettier (might have something to do with a BIG mountain in the way) and a lot less chilly. I do miss the friends and family we left behind. All in all however, I reckon the move was for the best. I mean, who can really compete with an unlimited red wine supply and a great big mountain in your backyard! 

In the next episode: hopefully some pictures for the blog!