Tag Archives: friends

My Top 5 Bars in Rome

10 Oct

5. Abbey Theatre

No matter where you go, you’re gonna need an Irish pub, right? Abbey Theatre is charming, with lots of smaller rooms linked by narrow corridors. The owner is friendly and fun [he called Nina a bossy cow while we were there and the name has stuck], there’s free wifi, they show major sports on their many TV screens, and basically it’s a go-to pub for a Guiness. Sit at the outside-facing counters for some great people-watching opportunities.

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4. Bar del Fico

Bar del Fico is right across from Da Francesco and near Baguetteria del Fico, as the name suggests. It’s vibey and loud, perfect for a Saturday night out. It kind of reminded me of my student days in Stellenbosch- almost like Bohemia in Rome. The music is loud, the people are a mixed bag of fun and wild, and it’s the perfect spot to start of end a big Saturday night.

Via San Marcello 19

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3. Baguetteria del Fico

I mentioned the Baguetteria del Fico as one of my top five food experiences in Rome, but it’s great for a drink. Grab a craft beer and seat yourself on one of the wooden stools next to the old-school cars, and enjoy summer afternoons in Rome. Perfect.

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2. Birra del Borgo

I had hat hair and feet that felt like they were bleeding when I walked into Birra del Borgo. And the combination of great, friendly staff, cool music, and delicious beer made it all go away! It’s a cool, laid-back vibe, and I highly recommend you sit at the counter and have an Isaac Weiss beer in one of these fancy glasses. I really enjoyed Birra del Borgo and when we left I just wanted to stay, and hang out there all night, being chilled and drinking the most delicious beer. If I lived in Rome, I’d make this my spot to go to after a hectic day, or to start the weekend.

Via del Colle Rosso

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1. Anywhere

Honestly, the best place to enjoy a drink in Rome is anywhere. It’s legal to drink in public until 11pm every night, so your best bet is to grab a beer or a bottle of wine from a supermarket or deli, find a cool spot, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Rome in all its glory. Rome is so beautiful and vibrant, and I love the people, so I could spend hours sitting somewhere pretty and just taking it all in. I would recommend the Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain, or a walking drink: There is something mind-blowing around every corner in this city, so you’ll never tire of walking it!

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My Top 5 Food Experiences in Rome

2 Oct

I had heard good things about the food in Rome. Amazing things, in fact, and I was excited. We did Rome with two friends and this is a list of my favourite food experiences:

5. Pane, Vino & San Daniele. San Daniele is a famous type of ham from the region of San Daniele in Italy. It’s sort of like a prosciutto, with a strong, delicious flavor. So we went to Pane, Vino & San Daniele to have some of this. We ordered a bottle of red wine, two huge plates of San Daniele, and two plates of fior di latte [which, did you know, means “tears of milk”]. Trust me, it’s all you need. Simple, high-quality food is the epitome of Italian cuisine so this was such a treat.

Via della Panetteria 42.

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4. Baguetteria del Fico. Near the well-known Piazza del Fico [fico means fig], this place is super charming and quaint. The interior is small and can probably seat about 6 people, but outside, next to an old car, there are a few wooden stools which we always used. You have to pick up your stuff and move out of the way if a car comes past, but it’s all part of the charm. The make sandwiches [as the name suggests] and you can choose from a variety of breads. Most options of 4-5 euros, and with combinations like prosciutto, mozzarella, and truffle paste, it’ll be some of the best sandwich money you’ve ever spent! Pistachio paste is another delicious spread, and I can highly recommend the pata negra, which is essentially a grilled Panini with thin slices of lard and balsamic vinegar. If you like Weiss beer, try a bottle of Mikkeller Belgian Tripel. Ideal for a long, lazy lunch.

Via della Fossa 12.

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3. Carlo Menta is proper local. We were the only people in the entire restaurant who were not speaking Italian, and that’s always a good sign! The place is packed, I mean almost shoulder-to-shoulder dining, and there are three things not to expect here: Space; quiet; and fanciness. It’s a bustling little restaurant with honest-to-goodness, well-priced, delicious Italian food.. Marguerita pizzas are 3 euro, and you should know that a plain, good ol’ Marguerita pizza is pretty the best thing to have in Rome if it’s quality. But the best dish on their menu has got to be the Gnocchi di Carlo Menta: Perfect gnocchi with a tomato-base sauce, mussels, and baby clams. Incredible flavours, well-priced, and the cause of much order envy.

Via della Lungaretta 101.

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2. Ginger was our “fancy lunch” for the trip. It was a hot, perfect summer’s day and we sat outside under the umbrellas, watching the stylish Romans go about their usual day. The interior is chic and simple but truly beautiful, and the menu is extensive: Everything from daily dishes depending on the available fresh produce to healthier options like juices and smoothies, Italian food like interesting pasta dishes and meat and cheese platters, gourmet salads – the list goes on. We had some champagne to celebrate my successful Jimmy Choo and Tiffany haul, and each enjoyed a pasta dish. The food is fresh, the décor is gorgeous, and all ‘round I think if I could have lunch at Ginger every day I would. Dishes cost less if you opt for take-away.

Via Borgognona 43/44.

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1. Da Francesco. The place where all four of us had the best meal we’ve ever had. No, really. The best meal ever, in four people’s lives with a combined age of 100. Neighbour to Bar del Fico [we’re back at this piazza], you’d be forgiven for not noticing Da Francesco. Some of the reasons you should go there are that it’s central, well-priced, the staff are delightful, and it’s a lovely spot to sit outside for lunch. The main reason to go there: Truffle and buffalo mozzarella pizza. Need I say more? I don’t think so. It was incredible. It was mind-blowingly delicious, and I pine for it daily. Truth be told I don’t have the words to explain how good this  pizza was, so go there and experience it for yourself. And bring me a slice, will you?

Piazza del Fico, 29.

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Spree S/S 14 Launch

1 Oct

Just after I got back from our amazing trip to Rome and Paris [more on that soon], I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Spree’s S/S 14 Launch, and it was just one of those events that ended up being the perfect way to spend an evening. The evening started with bubbly [always good!], and then several people from Spree spoke to us about the online store, the season ahead, and fashion in general. I was thrilled to hear Chris Viljoen speak, and he took us through several designs currently in store.

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After the talking was over, we got to try on the clothes, have our hair and make-up done, and pose for a little photoshoot! I got to wear this interesteing Black Coffee dress, which I wouldn’t normally have picked out for myself but Chris knows his stuff! The heels are Errol Arendz.

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I mean, if that isn’t the perfect way to spend a mid-week evening, I don’t know what is. Add to that some delicious snacks, and great women like Bailey and Natalie… I mean! At the end of the night we also walked away with a handbag from Spree, AND a voucher to spend at the store. I chose this beautiful pleated maxi skirt from Cheryl Arthur, and I’m excited to say that the weather seems to finally be getting summery enough for me to give it a spin soon!

I’m really loving the selection on Spree, but especially the local designers! Chris Viljoen is a legend in the local fashion scene so it comes as no surprise, of course.  I’m definitely keen to buy more local designers’ wares, and Spree’s service is excellent: Free delivery, and it’s fast! Plus the team is on hand to help you at the drop of a hat.

Thanks for a great time, Spree! Here’s to future shoppings.

Cape Town today

21 Apr

This time of year is Cape Town’s best kept secret. Forget coming here in summer: April is the time to visit the fair cape! Not a cloud in the sky, the temperature is still warm enough (most days) to walk around without jerseys and jackets, and (best of all) there is no wind! I love this city but man this place’s wind makes me want to kill myself. (Exaggeration).

Sure, the ocean is bloody freezing but it pretty much always is so I tend to look at it and nothing more, most of the time.

This weekend was magical. Sleeping in, brunch, seeing The Kooks live, spending time with a long list of special friends, walks on/along the beach, naps… Thanks, Mother City. You are too kind.

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A Weekend In Franskraal

7 Mar

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photo 4This past weekend we drove out to Franskraal, a coastal town just past Stanford on the East Coast. Now that we’re married we are eager to have tons of “weekends away”, and the Western Cape is so ideal for that. Just a few hours’ drive takes you to beautiful coastal towns, the winelands, mountains, and more!

We drove up after work on Friday which was a good move as it made the weekend seem so much longer! Plus the drive was beautiful and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the mountains, lighting up the beautiful Elgin valley, and finally setting the ocean on fire as we got to Hermanus.

On Friday night we drank and braaied to celebrate Stef’s birthday [the whole reason for the weekend away]. We all chipped in to buy him Settlers of Catan and an extension pack that allows up to six people to play.

On Saturday morning after a big breakfast we went to the beach. SC and I went for a jog and then walked back in the waves. I’m pretty sensitive to cold but the water was a perfect temperature and I have decided the East coast is where it’s at; I just can’t face the arctic waters of the west coast! After some reading time on the beach [still on Les Miserables, should finish in the next decade] we went for a swim and then finally headed home where we had a late lunch with some bubbly. We then went to Birkinhead Brewery in Stanford which has the most incredible mountain views and delicious beer. We watched the rugby which was not as exciting as the drinking game we invented: Take a sip every time the angry Afrikaner at the end of the bar drops an f-bomb. After that we played Settlers of Catan which I was sure I would hate but completely loved. At 2am, Chris won.

Sunday morning was another big breakfast and then SC and I went for soft serve. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but man oh man, give me soft serve on the beach and I am one happy girl! It has to be the strawberry and vanilla kind, or if it’s plain vanilla it needs to be dipped in caramel. Obviously.

After that we went horseriding on the beach. On Saturday we saw horses on the beach and jogged until we caught up with them to ask for a number. It was just Simon and I on the ride and he was a bit nervous because he hasn’t ridden much and the last time I took him riding he was put on a fairly grumpy horse. Simon got a palomino gelding Goldy, and I was put on a feisty little skewbald called Harry. He was a handful, but such fun to ride! Simon went from being nervous to even be on a horse, and having never done more than ten steps of trotting, to galloping on the beach! I was so chuffed and I definitely plan to do this again, soon. Having done horse riding for 13 years of my life, I miss it every single day.

After a really stunning ride, made better by the fact that we were the only two, along with the guide, we drove to Hermanus en route home. We stopped there for a walk around. It really is a beautiful town and was pleasantly quiet. We went to Hemingway’s which is contending with Book Lounge to be my favourite book shop in South Africa. I got a better copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin [ours is falling apart] as well as the complete works of Shakespeare because buying them individually is a mission and takes up too much space in our little flat.

After a lunch of gin and tonics and  fish and chips with a view, we drove back to Cape Town, enjoying another beautiful afternoon of sunshine.

It’s energising escaping the city, even if only for two days. I plan on doing more of this in future!

A Lovely Picnic Wedding

10 Dec

Last weekend we went to a morning wedding in Constantia, and I just loved how laid-back everything was! It wasn’t formal at all, but still tastefully done and an enjoyable day. Kids were welcome, and after the speeches people who weren’t enjoying the ice-cream stand were playing a spot of crocket or French cricket on the lawns at Little Stream Estate. It was a perfect summer’s day, and the bride’s father’s speech may have made me a little sniffy.

Congrats, Mr and Mrs Heslop!

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There was no seating plan- you simple grabbed a chair/bench/blanket under the trees.

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The food laid out on a help-yourself table, meaning we could go back for seconds [twice].

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Home-made lemonade!

photo 2-2And the dessert options were endless.

photo 3-1Cupcakes for the road.

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A Summer PSA

2 Nov

This isn’t exactly a fun piece. It isn’t humorous, and it doesn’t have pretty pictures. It’s not depressing or gross, though, and it is very, very necessary that you read this.

My mother was always obsessive about sunscreen. Every two minutes I was pulled out of the pool or off the horse and more thick white goo was applied to my face.  It irritated me so much as a kid! But today I am so grateful to my mother, and I apply SPF to my face every single day, even if it is raining and I am indoors all day.

SC got sunburnt badly a few times as a kid. As a result thereof he has to have a skin cancer check every six months. I decided I would go to his doctor, too, for what they call ‘mole mapping’. Here’s what it entails, and why everyone should go:

It’s not exactly a great experience, you know? First you stand in front of a stranger in your underwear. Doctor or not, that’s not as nice am activity as, say, a glass of wine with your best friend. Secondly, said stranger takes pictures of your body in sections. These show up on a big computer screen and trust me, that doctor’s room lighting would do any super model injustices. I cringed more than once. The doctor then ‘maps’ the moles you have. He labels them, and thereafter pays special attention to the ones that are potentially problematic. He cleans them and then takes a really, really close-up picture of them. A mole, multiplied by a bajillion and shown on a big screen, is not pretty. It’s not cute like, say, a baby panda. But then again, neither is cancer.

The surprising thing for me was that the moles I had been worried about were nothing: non-threatening moles and in some cases not even moles but pigmented polyps. One of the two moles that he marked was a tiny little freckle on my stomach that I had never even noticed! And I can’t help but wonder: how many people don’t have check-ups because they think they aren’t at risk since they don’t have huge moles all over their bodies?

The two moles he marked were in the “yellow zone”, one of them inching towards orange.  The zones go from white to yellow to orange to red, and obviously red is a very dangerous place to be. The doctor told me these could be problematic and I would have to come for a three-month check-up, which I did yesterday.  If they had gotten worse, I would need to come in every three months for monitoring. Since my last visit I had become even more SPF-crazy, and yesterday I found out it had paid off! Both moles had moved backwards towards the white zone, and now I only need to go back next year!

Last week, my English teacher from high school, who was just a wonderful human being, died of skin cancer. It can spread to your other organs and kill you. It can kill you, full stop. And yet every summer we see people lying in the sun, covered in oil, desperate for a tan. We fry ourselves, despite the risk of CANCER, just so our skin will be a little darker. Isn’t that completely insane?

I think everyone should go for mole-mapping at least once, if only to know where they stand. You may think a tan is sexy, but skin cancer is most certainly not. And since even cancer can’t deter us from striving for ‘beauty’, I urge people to think of how much worse they will age because of all of their time in the sun! Ladies, you want to carry a vintage leather bag, not look like one.

If you have just thirty minutes and R300 to spare, call Dr Pieper’s office at 021 42 44 257 and make an appointment. He practices from a gorgeous old Victorian house on Kloof Neck Road and his receptionist is such a laugh. And maybe someday you will thank yourself for it. In fact, I’m pretty sure you will.

Right. Thanks for reading. Here’s a picture of a bunny: