What we’re listening to
A perfect starter, afternoon snack or lunch, these creamy, cheesy, tangy pitas were an absolute hit with my family. The recipe is based on the corn and halloumi pita recipe in Neil Roake’s latest recipe book – More Life is a Beach Cottage, my absolute favourite cookbook at the moment. Do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy – the recipes are simple and delicious and the photos are gorgeous!
This is where I grew up. I mean, how lucky am I? This house has hosted the most festive of parties from my 13th disco where we slow danced to Mariah Carey’s Hero, to my dad’s 60th where his mates ended up jolling in the pool, and many more in between. My brother got married here in 2013, and I married James here too, on the best day ever in May last year. My matric dance before party was held in this very spot. I’ve had sleep overs and smoked illicit cigarettes with my friends (sorry mom!) and made movies here and drank lots wine here and listened to stories of my late grandfather’s adventures in World War II here.
And now my parents have sold this magical house, so I suppose this is my attempt to pay homage to what is, and always will be, one of the most special places to me.
I mean, take a look… With sweeping views of Durban from Moses Mabhida stadium to the CBD, across the harbour to the Bluff, I could sit for hours on the balcony (or lie in bed for that matter) and watch the world go by, no two moments the same. We’d watch the QE2 cruise into the Durban harbour from up here, or the more modest Symphony (which I ALWAYS wanted to go on as a result!) on Diwali we’d watch fireworks exploding into the skyline and my dad taught me to see the beauty in lightening from this spot.
I blame my never-ending quest for a view on growing up here – everything from restaurants to hotels to homes are infinitely better when they have an outlook (even if it is just the sea-less city of JHB). Oh and trees, just thinking of the wild indigenous garden makes me dream of the day I can afford one for myself :)
Goodbye beautiful home! I hope your next family loves you as much as we have :)
Is there anything better than a pot of fresh mussels, steamed in white wine and garlic, sitting on a table ready for you to attack? I think not. We tried out this recipe on our December holiday in the Wild Coast, and oh my word, attack that pot we did. Not to mention that this is possibly the most simple recipe in the world, the hardest part was getting the coals hot (see me exerting myself to that end below!)
You will need:
Mussels are naturally salty, so hold off on the seasoning till you taste the mussels (and it probably wont be necessary).
Me getting those coals ready!
OK so we may be a bit late to the new years resolutions party (it being the end of January and all!) but it’s never too late to make a positive change. As someone who has had ‘stop biting my nails’ on her resolutions list since at least 1996, this year I have decided to set myself a goal rather than a list of resolutions: to live more simply and to declutter my life.
I’ve done a lot of reading on the topic and here are 5 easy(ish) ways to achieve minimalistic bliss!
1. Declutter your inbox.
This is an easy one, all thanks so a fantastic website I found… Unroll.me helps you unsubscribe from all those millions of newsletters clogging up your inbox just by ‘logging on’ to your email and selecting ‘unsubscribe’ next to the sender. Turns out that I was subscribed to 72 newsletters (of which I probably read 2! good riddance to the other 70.)
2. Do a massive spring clean.
We’re about half way through our spring clean at the moment, and I can’t describe the joy that throwing away 3 year old receipts and dried up pens and sauces that expired in 2013 brings. It’s a mission to start but once you do, you’ll be desperate to attack the next cupboard and throw/give something/everything away. Here are some ideas to help you on your springcleaning way:
- unless you want to live in a dentist’s waiting room, throw away magazines that are not from 2016. Yes all of them. No, you probably won’t look at them again (and anyway you have the internet now).
- be ruthless! You’ll feel so much better for it. And donate anything that is useful (but not to you) to a chairty store so someone else can find use out of it.
- live by this mantra:
- attack the drawers – you’ll find that emptier and cleaner drawers mean that the things you have kept will be used more often.
- go through your cupboards and set aside any clothes you don’t wear / haven’t worn for a year. Be realistic. We live in a country with lots of people who need them more than you do – so drive around giving clothes to beggars or donate them to a homeless charity or shelter.
- throw away any holey fuddy duddy underwear and invest in a few new pieces. New underwear can make you feel like the most powerful person on earth and frankly 5 year old fraying undies are just gross.
- the pantry. Although I am known to ignore expiry dates, some things just need to go. Also you’ll probably find you have 6 packets of rice and 12 bags of spaghetti, so now is the time to consolidate your stock.
3. Simplify your weekday meals (i.e. plan!).
There is no denying that planning makes life so much easier and is totally worth the pain of, well, planning. I have never been much of a planner but this year, that is all going to change. One of the most exhausting and draining things in my life is stopping at the supermarket on my way home from a long day at work to buy dinner. It kills me. And yet, at least 2-3 times a week I will find myself in another check out queue. So, this year, I am going to plan week day meals in advance – for ideas, check out some of our delicious dishes here – and do one shop a week.
4. Say no.
This is something I actively started to do last year and it has made my life so much simpler, more enjoyable and less stressful. It can be hard but try it: NO! Don’t be that person who says yes and then 3 hours before, says no – if you don’t want to do something say no upfront. On that note, try stick to commitments too, that also makes you feel better.
5. Find your work-life balance.
This is a tough one, working in the financial industry (and many other industries too I am sure) brings with it certian expectations about work hours, face time and all sorts. What I have started to do is work around it – when I am finished with my work by 5:30 I am not going to hang around till 7 just to be seen to be busy. Get into work a bit earlier if it means that you can leave early to cook a special dinner, or go for a run in the morning and get in a bit later. As I said, find your balance.
Guys, 2016 is your year, wishing you a fantastic one!
It’s 2016 and the renovation continues! For anyone who has been through this, you’ll know its a looooong process. Ours has been particularly long with a couple of hurdles and hiccups along the way. But, we remain positive and are looking forward to getting really stuck into the nitty gritty this year (Lord give me strength). I’m also looking forward to saying goodbye to the Namib desert which is our front garden and sms’s from our neighbour complaining about the fact that he “even has sand in his pants!”. We promise, we feel really bad.
Renovations are a costly exercise and so we are constantly looking for ways to minimise costs and take on as much as possible ourselves. One of these tasks has involved quite a bit of landscaping design on a large expanse of garden. Daunting to say the least! I thought I would share with you some of the inspiration I have been drawing on for this process. We still have a long way to go and know that we need a degree of assistance from a landscaping team but we are hoping that a lot of the groundwork is already done!
Our main aims are – low maintenance, low water, minimalist, coastal
This is a very sketchy looking picture because it was one I took in a magazine.. but it really shows the style we are going for with our garden (and house for that matter, ah I wish we could redo our roof!). We need to do a series of slopes in the front and this shows beautifully how one can achieve this right off the patio. We also love the tree aloe and are thinking of putting one right against the house.
With water at a low, plants that are low maintenance are a must! We are planning on including a variety of dune plants, succulents and aloes to minimise how much we need to water!
Wild and leafy contrasted with stones, stairways and planter boxes. I love the mix of textures here.
Aloes and wild grasses mixed planted all over the slope in the front of the house. By only using 2 to 3 types of plants it keeps the minimalist look that we are going for!
We plan to use ‘mound like’ shapes on the slope in the front garden. The round shapes and gradual slopes will be an interesting feature that creates a soft contrast to the other more modern, angular lines.
Wild grasses and more wild grasses. Im obsessed.
So thats where we are for now, can’t wait to update you on the progress as we go!
2015 has been something of a blur, (is it really almost over!?) but what a year it has been! Kim started her own wedding decor business (if you haven’t already – check it out here), Sally got married, we both turned 30 (!!), we’ve been to restaurant launches, wine tastings, foodie movie nights – things have been happening for us! And, as always, we have loved sharing all the crazy, exciting, daunting times with you here on The Saltbox. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
And a happy new year! To those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful festive season and enjoy celebrating whatever it is you have to celebrate.
See you in 2016 x x x
Are these choc-chip cookies:
(The correct answer is 5, duh).
We’re well into the silly season by now (I am literally counting down the days left at work (5)) so it only seems appropriate that our December wine of the month is a festive bottle of bubbly… a gorgeous pink bubbly at that. Introducing Charles Fox Brut Rose:
This is how the wine estate describes this brut rose: “succulent summer fruits integrate harmoniously with hints of flambéed plums and toasty fresh baked bread” – ummmm you had me at ‘succulent’! I’d describe it as delicious, easy to drink (possibly too easy!) and the perfect summers drink. Step aside cocktails, there is no need to mess with perfection!
The estate is relatively new – having been bought by the current owners in 2010 – and only produces Cap Classique. It used to be a fruit farm in its previous life but when it was found to have the perfect terroir for the grapes used to make MCC, 10 blocks of vines were planted in 6.3ha of land. Some of the pretty fruit trees still grace the estate, showing off in spring with gorgeous white blooms
This light, dry MCC is perfect served with canapés at a party, why not serve it with a couple of these delicious snacks:
If you’re looking for something more substantial to eat with your bubbles, try one of these delicious options:
More about Charles Fox MCCs
Find out where to buy Charles Fox Brut Rose here.
In the middle of Cape Town’s CBD is the gorgeous oasis of the Company’s Garden, originally built in the 1650s by the Dutch settlers, the gardens provided ships docking in the Cape with fresh produce to last them the journey to India or back to Europe. Today, the gardens are a sanctuary to Cape Town’s city dwellers and office workers, as well as us tourists alike.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with an afternoon to kill in Cape Town (not a very hard thing to do, mind you), I ended up wondering into the Company’s Gardens, and stumbling upon the eponymous restaurant from the crew of Madame Zingara fame. It’s such a lovely restaurant, definitely one I’d recommend, here’s what I thought of it:
Location, location, location
A restaurant in the middle of a park in the middle of Cape Town – how could you possibly go wrong? Massive trees overhang the outdoor seating area, providing diners with the perfect amount of dappled shade and the feeling of being far away from the city.
Since I was eating on my own, I can’t really comment on the entire menu, but my coronation chicken sandwich was fresh and tasty and the deep fried prawns on top were a delicious surprise. The menu is extensive with breakfasts, light meals, salads and platters as well as dishes for the hungrier person including pastas and burgers. I’ll have to go back to sample more!
While the outdoor area was the biggest draw card for me, don’t be put off on a rainy day, there is a large indoor seating area, with lovely decor in greens and browns and other neutrals. Gorgeous. The bar area is also undercover and the ideal spot to grab a quick bite to each when you’re on the clock.
If the weather is good however, its the perfect restaurant to bring your kids or nieces and nephews, (or young-at-heart adult friends!) there is a whole ‘playground’ of human sized weavers nests to climb in and chill in, as well as swing chairs and huge frogs. Delightful.
The Company’s Garden
19 Queen Victoria Street
Cape Town City Centre
t: 021 423 2919
December is here, we’ve already eaten 3 of our advent calendar chocolates (admit it!!) and all this means that Christmas is just around the corner… what better way to get the excitement levels up than by putting together a Christmas wish list? Or 3…!
Perfect for the neutral/natural/nature lover amongst us, these beautiful items will complement most colour schemes. I have been keen to install a fire pit for ages and this one is so simple yet elegant, its going to be at the top of my list.
As for the jade driftwood tray. I’m obsessed.
Clockwise from top left:
On the opposite (but equally cool) end of the spectrum are your quintessential summer brights. They’re perfect for a pop of colour in a neutral room, for outdoor entertaining by the pool and for the inner child in anyone.
Clockwise from left:
Share the love by sharing some bling… and this festive season we’re all about the gold, from balloons to the most beautiful candle sticks, you can’t go wrong with gold.
Clockwise from top left:
Happy shopping everyone x x x
December: the end of the year, summer, a couple of weeks off without any emails/call/nagging bosses, long days, g&ts, ocean swims, fruit salads… it’s easy to see why this is our favourite time of the year! We’re getting quite fezzy here at The Saltbox, so we hope you’ll join us for the ride.
First things first – decorating your house. We made this gorgeous driftwood Christmas Tree at our beach cottage in the Wild Coast last year, and it was such a success that I just had to share it with you (and have waited a year to do it!). It’s honestly the simplest thing ever, if you’re anywhere near the cost – why not give it a try?
You will need:
1. First go for a long walk on the beach and collect as much driftwood in different lengths as you can (narrowish sticks as opposed to logs!) as well as one really long stick that will form the ‘trunk’ of your tree
2. Arrange the smaller sticks along the ‘trunk’ in decreasing size order
3. Use the hammer to knock the screws just a little bit, to secure them, and then screw the sticks into places onto the trunk
4. Decorate the tree and voila
On the Saltbox you will find beautiful homes, things and people, DIY projects, recipes, delicious wine, inspiration, ideas for entertaining and eating out. It is our platform to share these passions of ours with you, we hope you enjoy it!