Grace and time

As women, we tend to notice other women more than we notice men. We are always looking to our female icons for fashion inspiration, chatting to our friends and neighbours about beauty tips. Women talk about women.

My mom and I were sitting at Vida on Sunday and looking at the diverse group of people around us. I noticed the beautiful, slim Camps Bay moms who had dragged their unimpressed toddlers into the morning mist for a social caffeine injection with the girls.

I noticed in particular one woman warmly greeting another with a warm, beautiful smile on her face, the two had a short exchange asking after each other’s husbands etcetera etcetera. The one woman gathered up her young and waved goodbye, and as soon as her back was turned, the once beautiful smile turned into a sneer that sat on her face like a scar.

I thought to myself “Jesus, was that the same woman” my mom noticed the observatory expression on my face and said “party mense is lelik as hulle ophou smile ne”.

And that got the cogs in my head turning, because not only was this woman no longer pretty, she was in fact quite ugly. It did not take rocket science to see that life had dealt her a hand of sour cards, it was written all over her face, and her snide insincere cover up face was now ugly too.

So what does it take to be stunning, to be gorgeous. In my opinion, it takes grace and hard work. See you can spend every last penny you have access to, on the most miraculous beauty serums, treatments and dopas. You can drink herbal tea and go for cellulite treatments, you can Botox the past out of your face and smother your skin in organic this and that from the top of the Himalayas to the bottom of the dead sea, but if you’re not feeling it inside, you’ll just be a an expensive mess.

Seek joy they tell us, seek inner peace. Yes, I can agree with that. Live a healthy life, stop smoking and drinking, stay out of the sun and avoid saturated fats. Doing those things will get you far I guess.

But how? That’s the part they seem to leave out.

Think of one dynamic, beautiful woman you know. For me I know a couple but Aletha Carswel springs to mind. My friend Genevieve and I often muse that “We want to be like her when we grow up”  one significant thing to notice about Aletha, is that I have never been able to gauge her age. I met her when I was 17 years old, and I dare say that time has appears to have forgotten all about her! I think she has hardly changed over the last 11 years. There is a regal and eminently graceful confidence in the way she carries herself, and I know this is a petty small minded self-involved thing to say, but she still greets me, in fact she makes an effort to do so.

She makes people feel special and memorable, and if I’ve learnt one saying that will always ring true, it’s that people will forget many, many things about you, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

You may notice, that if you don’t know who Aletha is whilst reading this article, you don’t know much about her physical attributes, but I can guarantee that the picture envisaged in your mind does not resemble a hideous witch. Aletha is beautiful and kind, she is effortless and timeless.

Now think of the nastiest person you know, and counter her looks with your feelings. Take away the way she makes you feel, and discover how much more beautiful she could have been, if only it wasn’t for the way she treated the world around her.

That brings me then to the discovery of such glowing beauty, I think it has something to do with intention, what you intend… Do you intend to be happy? Do you intend to make people around you happy? Do you intend to see only beauty and goodness in those around you and in the situations that life throws at you?

Look I’m not saying, go forth and be naïve, use your own common sense. But learn to put your own rose tinted glasses on when the world  gets a bit grey, and above all if you have kids – I think you’ve got to Mary Poppins magic the crap out of them. Kids will keep you young, if you choose to play and interact with them.

I’ve since that day at Vida, tried to smile at random strangers, it’s quite hilarious the reaction of some people – I walked past a lady in Spar, our eyes met and I nodded a smile off in her direction – so shocked was she, that she turned to look behind her, only to find that I was in fact smiling at her. Not in a creepy axe murderer “you’re next” kind of way by the way… mind you.

So to be beautiful, I think you should drink lots of water, try to make someone else smile at least three times a day, get a good serum, use a good SPF for the day, eat healthy, yummy food, play with the people around you, find the fun in every situation, get enough sleep as often as you can, and be real, be sincere in your emotions, let it all hang out.

                          

Left above: Aletha Carswel     Right:  Genevieve and me

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Peas in a pod

Late on Friday afternoon I pulled up to the new kid on the Block… You may have seen this stunning new structure in Argyle road, Camps Bay. I sashayed in through the Glass entrance door trailing my hand along the white grey wood panel wall, I was greeted by the smell of st Josephs Lillies, the sounds of st Germain and Micheala’s friendly smile.

Michaela showed me to my room with a view. Lovely natural colours, black slate floors, smoked glass and wood. Furnished with Flat screen TV’s (With not much to watch on the limited DSTV bouquet – although there were DVD’s available, I didn’t bother to ask) complimentary WI FI and even an iPod docking station. This boutique spot offers all the mod cons in a luxurious comfortable setting. There are also communal lounges on every floor, complete with coffee machines and board games.

Unfortunately, I could not linger to watch the Camps Bay sun sink into the Blue Atlantic from my very own Camps Bay stoep, as I had a prior engagement at the One and Only, to meet an old friend… (Where I incidentally waited about an hour, just for a whiskey)

I arrived back at the hotel, and was surprised to discover that even the access to the basement parking was controlled by my credit card like “room key” – sick.

The white linen wrapped bed with its beautiful Italian sized pillows beckoned, it had been a long week, and one glass of Moet and about a half hour of late night flat screen TV later, I was lights out. Halfway through the night, I had a run in with one of the Italians and threw him across the room… I love my own pillows, and these are so new and firm, they ended up messing with my sleep.

I woke up to the sound of the ocean, well rested (despite the pillow altercation) and quite ready for breakfast. So I started getting ready. Now I don’t know bout you, but I am not one for bathroom exhibitionism. The shower is open, separated from the rest of the bedroom by a wardrobe and a counter with a very cool basin. The toilet is enclosed in a smoked glass box, so while you are sitting on the loo you pretty much feel like a miss America Contestant in the sound proof box, while the questions are being asked, only difference is that this box is not sound proof, so this could be a deal breaker if you, like me are a bit more on the private side… the toilet lid has a cool anti slam thing though, which is quite amusing and they use super yum smelling Charlotte Rys products, which is well…super yum.

I wandered downstairs, warmly showered. The scent of fresh coffee grabbed hold of my hand and led me to breakfast, which consisted of a vast continental spread,  fresh croissants and pastries, gorgeous fruit, freshly squeezed juices and milk, and then as if that was not enough of a treat, one of the superbly trained staff members tempted me with a warm full English breakfast. How could I resist?? I had arguably one of the best cups of coffee I have had in a while, and the tempting breakfast turned out to be sublime.

The lazy, over cast morning turned into a great sunshine afternoon. The pool deck and outside entertainment area is just begging for a stunning cocktail party. We watched a glam catalogue shoot transpire and after spending the morning next to the pool and watching the model antics it was sadly time to move on and embark on the next adventure.

The Kove Camps Bay Part 2

I do love my wine!

I do love my wine!

The reservation was made, the confirmation call came at midday, and at 20:23 I finally arrived, late as usual. My less than impressed boyfriend was already sitting at the table waiting for me, and I didn’t even have a pen or paper to write anything down. (Eventually I did though)

In a perfect Camps bay style cliche, our waiter was some guy that used to sleep with one of my friends, mildly amusing. Okay so we finally settle in and get to ordering drinks, the wine list starts off by explaining in great detail that the restaurant is all about the wine. The list carries on by giving you a blow by blow summary from 1991 (if I remember correctly) up to the present on the kind of harvest every year had and what the conditions where like in that particular year.

Now before I get into the night, I just have to mention the event that set the undertone for the entire experience. While John and I were picking at the wine list, I couldn’t help but noticing a hive of activity in one corner of the restaurant, paramedics were swarming around an elderly gentleman, whilst the rest of the restaurant just carried on as if it were a normal occurance for the man at the table next to you, to be going into cardiac arrest. I am no innocent, and will admit that eventhough I sort of saw what was going on, I still asked David “What is that bloody beeping noise?” It was the noise from the machine that was saving Mr. Unknown’s life, it was annoying me. The epitomy of pretension… ahhh Camps bay. (Kinda”let them eat cake” vibe.)

Picking John's wine.

Picking John's wine.

Back to the wine! I order a sauvignon blanc, asking the waiter to recommend one that is not wooded, and end up with a crisp light wine from Spier, nice. My friend John arrives, right on cue being quite the wine expert, I have another tool in my new found reviewing artillery.

The interior is not as fabulous as I expected (although David liked it), but I did like the fake plant “growing” up the pillar next to the table. The seating is well appointed making every table feel private, also there are cool “booths” with beautiful wooden butterfy mobiles suspended over the table.

This one is for the girls, for some reason women always want to know “What does the bathroom look like?” well here it is, the entrance to the bathroom is gorgeous, reminiscent of the scene in American beauty when Mena Suvari is lying in roses, framed by velvety red roses, with a panel of white roses in the middle. What was really funny though is that you can see yourself side-on, sitting on the loo in the smoke mirror panel, and it immediately made me think “I so shouldn’t have had dessert!”

On to the starters, we decided to go with the prawns and the mussels. The prawns where tasty, they made them in a variety of three seasonings, garlic butter, mustard and peri peri, the  nice thing about the prawns was that they were already out of the shell so you could just eat them, what a lekker lazy delight. The mussels stole the starter show though, the white wine sauce they make is so aromatic, just super, just beautiful and yum yum yum. (But when we asked the runner for some bread to lap up the sauce, we got asked “How many slices?… Huh? What? That really made us laugh.)

My food.

My food.

I was not surprised by the menu, especially after I heard that The Kove is in-fact a sister restaurant to Bungalow, Paranga and Pepenero, they all have kind of the same feel, almost like the macdonalds chain of the fine dinning experience in Cape Town. One thing that did catch my eye was the Chateau briand, a dish rarely seen on a menu in Cape Town, and also well priced for a 500g fillet.

David's food, sharing bearnaise is caring.

David's food, sharing bearnaise is caring.

I ended up having the fillet Bearnaise, the meat was very tender melt in you mouth mmmmm… tarragon, yum. John had the fillet Bordelaise, a marrow based red wine sauce, but not particularly spectacular. David had a rump, plain and simple, a little dry not great (a little over cooked). Which made me think that without the sauce, mine probably would also have been dry and boring, I just have such a love affair with Bearnaise sauce, love could be blind.

John's food, and my Bearnaise!

John's food, and my Bearnaise!

The wine we ended up having with dinner was a Thelema Merlot 2004, very chocolaty, very plush and perfect with the food! But what a fight to get it out of them, we originally ordered a Meerlust 2004 merlot, our dim waiter brought us the 2005, thinking we wouldn’t notice, but the clever cookie I am I remembered their cultivar year thingie at the front of the menu and remembered wondering why 2005 was such a shitty year for wine, so I told him that that was not what we ordered, and asked to speak with their sommelier… They are supposedly a wine restaurant, bla bla, but they don’t even have a sommelier, I thought that was very weird.

The sweet stuff though was seriously, seriously out of this universe! Les desserts étaient superbes! John had something like orange flavoured cream cookies, Dave had the chocolate ice cream with rich Lindt chocolate sauce, and I had the crown of creation, three flavours of panna cotta, chocolate, pistachio, and vanilla pod, plus I hi jacked half of David’s chocolate sauce.

The service was prompt, the waiters eager and helpful but uninformed, all but one. The music set the mood of having dinner in an elevator.

All in all, the deserts, wine and the company were the best things about the night. Yet another Camps bay restaurant is characteristically abusing unassuming tourists and presenting another plastic platform for the wealthy folk to have a public pissing contest. Our bill came to an astounding R1200.00 for three people. Our mistake, I for one will probably not be going there again.