Saturday, April 28, 2012


Ahhhh Autumn is upon us and Winter is swiftly sweeping behind it. This means  heaters and hot,steamy showers (where we contemplate life and our day for a good 30 minutes and lather up and rinse for the last 2 mins).  Winter also means desert-dry skin for many of us.

To help my skin along I make a little mixture - warm Bio-oil and mix with raw honey with a little organic brown sugar (glycolic acid) to make a super moisturising body scrub for the last bit of your shower. Try it - your skin will feel fantastic! Remember you don't have to scrub very hard and make sure the sugar is soft,brown sugar. You can also try the scrub without the scrub without the Bio-oil.

It is well known that honey has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it has been used as a treatment for wounds and other skin problems for thousands of years. The first mention of honey being used on the skin was found on a Sumerian clay tablet dating from 2500BC. It was widely used for a very long time to dress wounds and burns in hospitals and the home, but it became unfashionable when antibiotics were developed in the mid-1900s

Honey in its natural, raw, unfiltered state contains 2 predominant natural sugars (fructose and glucose) 11 enzymes, 14 minerals, 21 amino acids, all the vitamins that nutritionists consider necessary for health A,D,K, Ruin, Nicotinic acid, B vitamins, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Antithetic acid, Pyridoxine and Biotin as well as Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). It's important that the honey is unprocesssed and raw.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mount Grace Blogger Weekend

I was recently invited to a "blogger's weekend" with a partner (the hubby) by Ian Manley of Manley Communications. I've heard so much about Mount Grace (only good things!) from so many people who had been there so I was super excited  to experience it myself.

The five star Mount Grace Country House and Spa is a luxurious yet unpretentious countryside hideaway perfect for jaded city slickers that function at a break-neck ,feverish pace who are in desperate need of a relaxing and pampering break. Or for that romantic get-away - it's a perfect place for couples to rekindle a romance.

I was really excited to meet the other bloggers as well. I'd been following Hasmita's and Bailey's blogs for a while and was so excited to finally meet them. The other bloggers and their partners were awesome and so friendly . I love checking out their blogs now too. Check them out : Spiced Weasel - also from the "souf" , Derek, Alida's, Arja's , Sam's,Michelle's , Tanya's and Shahil.

A week before the much-anticipated get-away we were sent this itinerary :

Saturday. 21 April , 2012

12h30 – 13h00: arrive at Mount Grace and meet at the front patio of the main lodge

13h00 – 14h30: wellness inspired lunch at the Mount Grace Spa Restaurant
14h30 – 17h00: spa treatments booked at the Mount Grace Spa for the bloggers

14h30 – 17h00: blogger partners check-in to accommodation and have the afternoon at leisure to relax by the pool

18h30 – 19h15: meet for pre-dinner drinks at the main lodge verandah

19h30: gourmet dinner paired with Dog & Fig micro brewery beer at the Rambling Vine Restaurant

Sunday, 22 April '12

07h00 – 10h00: breakfast at leisure

10h00 – 11h00: morning walk with Chef Franc Lubbe (optional)

11h00 – 11h30: check-out of accommodation

12h30 – 15h00: Sunday Lunch at Twist Restaurant at leisure

Welcome Spritzer - Cranberry with Cucumber Essence. Taking in the magnificent views

The healthy yet substantial Spa Lunch. Sushi! Imagine nomming while a small stream gushes past outside - this place is
so idyllic and peaceful

Me, Alida, Bailey, Hasmita and Samantha

Oops a Spa dessert picture sneaks in. We had an amazing full body , knot -pummeling Swedish massage at the spa. I also got some goodies - they stock some lovely high end products like OPI, Spalicious (love their scrubs), Babor and the iconic Mama Mio Range. The ladies at the spa were super knowledgable and helpful when it came to choosing the correct product.

The massive treatment room with it's own shower and bath

The view from outside the Spa

Part of the expansive manicured lawns on the property. This is in between lush forest, small waterfalls, streams and gorgeous bushveld. Truly amazing.

Part of a common lounge

You can even take a ride around the property

Taken from the door of our luxurious suite

The hubby (Kamal)  being  a poser on the super comfy bed

The lounge area

Our very own private heated plunge pool!

The suite is comfortably large and warm. It's all about detail and everything is well thought out in the suites.

We couldn't resist ! This was before the 6 course dinner. After dinner we came back and got in again. Really "romantical"
and dramatic watching the lightning fracture the dark sky * thinks back and sighs*.

Lol, think he'll kill me if he saw this pic.

We were a bit nibbly so we ordered some room service

Ian, Cathy (from the Dog and Fig) and the bloggers and their partners met for some pre-dinner champagne before being treated at The Rambling Vine where Chef Frank Lubbe and his team had prepared a 6 course meal carefully paired with beer from The Dog and Fig Brewery microbrewery (check them out on Facebook) . These  high-quality exclusive , niche beers can only be found at select establishments such as Mount Grace.
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The Rambling Vine Restuarant (
The award winning Rambling Vine restaurant features quarterly seasonal menus and an award winning wine list. This fine dining experience for 50 diners, is “where people go for a spoil”, the Rambling Vine has achieved one of the highest marks ever for a South African restaurant, in the history of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and its wine list has won a Diners Club Diamond award three years in a row.

Hasmita and Pratika

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Shahil (made the night so fun) and Alida

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Bailey and Alida

Fresh , warm bread with rich,salty butter - who could resist?

My hubby started taking pics with his BB (unfortunately my battery just died).
This pic is from Hasmita's blog. Our first course a
Sweecorn Fritter served with Madagascan Vanilla Pod Ice cream paired with the Fruity Baldadige/Boisterous Buchu Beer

Another one of Hasmita's pics. The Chicken
and Wild Mushroom  consommé . In the syringe there was a mixture of truffle oil, agar-agar , thyme and cream. The was also a jug of  consommé. We poured the consommé over the rehydrated mushrooms and then syringed the creamy mixture in that to create a delicate noodle. Very interesting - art, entertainment and food all in one. As Alida said it's very " Heston Blumenthal".

The hubby's pic

Then came the Waterzooi -a light seafood stew of Scottish salmon and prawn steamed in a fish cream and was paired with the Wafferese Weiss ( West, the sommelier said it was the "Kama Sutra" of beers - perhaps because it is flexible and can be paired with may dishes)

Hasmita and Kamal , from their facial expressions, clearly did
not like this bit. Chef Franc did say you either like it or you don't. Alida's
husband Chris likened it to herbal vaseline. Well it was an experience.

I loved this little palate cleanser - it was so yummy. An apple sorbet delicately placed on an apple, cardamon (elachi)
saffron chutney with a razor-thin, sweet apple crisp to top it off. Soooo Nommie!

  Grilled Giant Scallop and Foie Gras on top of Brioche with Raspberry cavier  which  was paired with the Aardige/agreeable ale - it has a fruity aroma but has a dry taste. Kamal  who has had  Foei Gras before says it's excellent with brioche and blueberry jam. I just couldn't do it so I gave him mine to nom

Just wanted to emphasize the nommie-ness of the palate cleanser

This was followed by Beef shin braised in Stewige Stout served with homemade Puff Pastry and Wild Cepes and served with Stewige Stout

The non-beef alternative. The pastry was pure Puff Pastry Perfection.

Three layered Caramel Bavarois served with Raspberries, honeycomb and liquorice foam. This was paired with the Sluwe Saison. We were all impressed with the arty aspect of the dessert. Note that the quill is made of dark and white chocolate. In the middle of the Bavarois (a delicate cream dessert) was an oozy,rich surprise of liquid caramel. Shahil exclaimed that it was "bleeding" and was so upset that I couldn't finish my dessert (I was stuffed)

All the pics with Bailey's name tag are from her blog Vanilla Blonde
pop over and have a look

After a lovely dinner and super fun evening we made our way back to the room , took a last plunge into the pool and then drifted off to sleep in the warm,comfortable bed. Ahhhh , heaven.

The next morning it was difficult to drag ourselves out of the snug,soft bed. We made our way to breakfast with a scenic buggy ride - winding its way on pathways through pristine forest, perfect lawns and a waterfall feature.

Twist is the ‘fun’ restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Unlike usual restaurants where food is prepared in the kitchen, Twist brings the kitchen into the restaurant with an unusual buffet style offering. You will find everything from waffles to sushi on the menu, and their Sunday lunches have developed a following of its own in recent years. Have a look at Bailey's Blog , Vanilla Blonde, for some great pictures of her lunch

The Breakfast spread is massive with almost everything imaginable. Everything is freshly prepared and of a high quality and tasted so delicious !Can't remember when I've had such fabulous croissants. The waffles were a nice treat and so scrummy - wish I had space for more.

The view from our breakfast table. Just  lovely

A Freshly and perfectly made waffle - so scrumptious!

Hubby and I took a little walk afterwards. Mount Grace is so peaceful and beautiful. A weekend stay is like a soothing balm for our usually frenetic lives

A lovely end to a fabulous weekend - we'll defintely be returning to Mount Grace Country House and Spa. Thank you to Manley Communications and Mount Grace as well as to all the lovely bloggers and their partners for the fantastic weekend.
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