Monday, 7 August 2017

Get Some Barista Love at Sihle's Brew

My husband and I recently took a trip up to Johannesburg and beyond to have a short holiday at a game reserve (look out for that blog post). The journey was too long to do in one trip so we stayed over at my sister's house in North Riding. My husband negotiated the Jhb traffic while I enjoyed looking at the shopping centres and other sights along the way. By now you should know that I LOVE coffee and I am always keen to find a new place to visit. We drove past a small shopping centre very near to my sister's place and my eye was immediately drawn to the sign on the metal fence - Sihle's Brew Barista Love. It looked so interesting but I wasn't sure we would get to see it as our weekend was going to be very busy. That was late on a Thursday afternoon.

We returned to Jhb from the game reserve on the Sunday and while en-route I discussed with my sister where we would go for coffee that afternoon. Two of the places she suggested were not open in the afternoon and then I remembered about Sihle's Brew. Google is a great friend and I was pleased to discover that the coffee shop closed at 5pm. 

The coffee shop is small, intimate and decorated with pallet wood couches and a few other tables and chairs. At the back of the shop is the pallet wood covered counter. A lot of care and attention to detail has made the place warm and welcoming. 

Yes, yes you say - but how is the coffee?

We ordered four cappuccino's and decided to sit on the long couch while they were made. A very friendly barista made and brought the cappuccino's to us. And ............. they were divine! Perfect drinking temperature, perfect foam and beautifully presented with latte art. We happily sat, chatted and drank our coffee's. We enjoyed the coffee so much that I bought a bag of the Signature blend beans to take home and a bag of ground coffee for my sister.







We opened and enjoyed some of my sister's bag of Sihle's Brew that evening and the following morning. After breakfast it was time to head back to Durban and it didn't take much convincing for my husband to stop at Sihle's Brew for large takeaway cappuccino's. This time we got to meet Sihle and he made the cappuccino's for us. It was nice to find out that he came from Durban and he was very excited about the new menu that he was launching in the coffee shop. Yes the cappuccino's he made were also divine!

Sihle Magubane owner of Sihle's Brew





So the next time you are in Jhb and need your coffee kick - I really, really recommend that you go to Sihle's Brew. Sit back, relax and enjoy the coffee.


Sihle's Brew
Barista Love
Shop B3 Northview Shopping Centre
Olievenhout Avenue, North Riding

Shop times :

Mon - Fri 6am to 8pm
Sat 7am to 5pm
Sun 8am to 5pm

011 - 0427440
082 041 4552

They have WiFi

Email

Monday, 10 July 2017

Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf & Spa Resort

In the Southern Drakensberg with a clear view of Rhino Peak lies Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf & Spa - a resort filled with so many activities that you need not leave the premises and you can happily keep yourself busy from sun-up to sun down.

Views from Glengarry Country Club




Whether you are an adventure loving couple or an on the go family, Drakensberg Gardens will have something for you to do. Activities such as : Golf, zip lining, horse riding, mountain biking, hiking and swimming. Take a look on the website for the rest of the many activities and costs involved.



Zip Line and an hour long horse ride



If you are not into any adrenalin pumping activity then why not relax at the onsite Spa, laze around the pool or read a book whilst watching the kids at the new water park.

Swimming pools and kids water park



After all the activities you can retire to your comfortable room and get ready to meet at the bars or restaurants. Drakensberg Gardens has Standard Rooms which consist of either one double or two double beds, bathroom with a bath shower combo, TV and tea/coffee making facilities. Superior Rooms which consist of two double beds, bathroom with a bath and shower, TV, mini fridge, hair dryer and tea/coffee making facilities. There is also a beautifully decorated Honeymoon Suite with a king size bed, comfortable lounge and large bathroom.


Superior Room


Views from the patio of the Superior Room




If you don’t wish to stay in the hotel rooms or eat in the restaurants, Drakensberg Gardens also has four sleeper and six sleeper self catering rooms.

There are five restaurants in the resort : Bergview, Bistro Terrace Cafe, Eagles Roost, The Vine Knot and Glengarry Country Club. Check with Reception as to which of the restaurants are open in the evening. Eagles Roost is a family restaurant situated in the main hotel and this is where breakfast is served daily.

Buck & Trout, Wildcat Sports, Bergview Pool and Glengarry Country Club are the four bars on the resort. The Wildcat Sports Bar is the place to be if you want to watch major sporting events or play a game of pool. The bar also has a large fire pit to sit around and enjoy the crisp cold air in winter. Drakensberg Gardens has a collection of South Africa’s best wines on offer and you can take a look at the list on the website.

Drakensberg Gardens is not just for leisure as they also have seven conference rooms of various sizes and the most beautiful areas for weddings.

Don’t miss out on family fun or relaxation. Make a booking at Drakensberg Gardens while they are running their Winter Special from R899 per person for dinner, bed and breakfast. The special runs until 31 August 2017.

Cold and frosty Winter morning







Tuesday, 4 July 2017

ECR House & Garden Show 2017

Every year when it’s the start of the July school holidays I look forward to attending the ECR House & Garden Show at the Durban Exhibition Centre. This year the show is bigger and better than ever. Other than the usual decor, home improvement, garden and food stalls whole new sections have been added. Sections such as the KZN Travel & Adventure Show, KAPOW Designer Cafe, Foodie Fair and H + G Maker Space.




The show is so big and there is so much to see and do that I had to attend the show twice. On Saturday I spent most of my time at the Chef’s Theatre in the main hall watching Culinary Artist Wayland Green from Granny Mouse Country House & Spa and Chef Sherwyn Weaichy prepare delicious food.




I also took a very slow walk around the KZN Travel & Adventure Show collecting brochures from various holiday places and chatting to a few of the people manning the stalls. I was especially interested in the KZN Battlefields route and enjoyed talking to Pam McFadden who runs the Talana Museum in Dundee. I spent 6 years living in Dundee and it was great to hear what Pam is doing to maintain the history of the area, and I am very keen to attend the Dundee Homecoming event in September.




The Homegrown Design Fair is amazing as always and I love seeing how creative people can be with what they make. A must see is Abide Creative, Elle Kay Fabrics, Hellooow Handmade and Rollin Vintage. You are sure to find gifts for family and friends and especially for yourself inside the Homegrown Design Fair hall.




I took a brief walk around the Foodie Fair and made sure to buy a cup of coffee from the Love Coffee combi. They use beans supplied by Steampunk in the Midlands. That was all I was able to see on the Saturday and that took quite a few hours.

I returned on Monday and went straight to get a cup of coffee from Exploring Coffee inside the Travel Show tent. Finally found the Durban Green Corridor stall that I had missed seeing on the Saturday. On Saturday I had breezed through the Builders Warehouse tent and so had also missed seeing the painting station set up for people to try out chalk paint. You are able to try out the Fired Earth chalk paint on a wooden picture frame for free and to take it home. It was great fun, easy to do and the paint dries so quickly.

My daughter Laura was with me and she had not had breakfast so we had to look at all the food stalls until she made her selection. She settled on pizza from Maddison’s Bakery while I enjoyed a pasteis de nata from Madeleine’s and a cup of coffee from Love Coffee.

Then we took a slow walk around the main hall looking at all the decor, design and home improvement stalls. I loved the decor in the KAPOW Designer Cafe and especially the faux flowered chandeliers done by Jennifer Jones interiors. Don’t forget to buy 1, 2 or many more pieces of delicious Tasha’s Fantastic Fudge.




We weren’t planning on going to the Chef’s Theatre again but in passing saw that Lucy Markewicz of CakeLab would be doing a demonstration at 1pm. She demonstrated icing and drip icing techniques on a buttermilk sponge cake. It was incredible how a few simple techniques and decorations created such an amazing looking cake. It tasted so delicious as well.


The show is on until Sunday so why don’t you go see and experience it for yourself.


Find all the show times and ticket costs on the ECR House & Garden Show website.



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort

You are keen to have a holiday in the Drakensberg but you have specific ideas for fun, adventure and relaxation. Where is a place that has golf, putt putt, a pool to cool off in, jungle gym and trampolines for the kids and even a Spa?

Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort has all of that and tennis, badminton, volleyball, fishing, darts, board games, pool table and mountain bike trails.

But do they have good food and will I be able to go hiking or for a scenic walk?

Yes, they have good hearty food with generous portions (really generous) and there is great hiking on the Monks Cowl mountain trails. There are so many other activities such as the birds at Falcon Ridge (make sure you have cash available to pay for the show), reptiles, Drakensberg Canopy Tour, chocolate tasting at Chocolate Memories and delicious breads and pastries at Valley Bakery. In fact Monks Cowl Golf Resort is centrally situated in the Champagne Valley with ease of access to all of these activities outside of the resort.


Kids will love the rock pool and slide


Monks Cowl Golf Resort has 35 superior hotel rooms one of which is a disabled room. The rooms have either dam or mountain views, 2 double beds, bathroom with shower and bath, air conditioning, DSTV, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar fridge and a private patio. There is one executive / honeymoon suite with a king size bed, Jacuzzi bath and a double shower.


Superior rooms and the Friar Tuck restaurant


There are also 8 self-catering units which are fully equipped with a master bedroom en-suite, second bedroom with twin beds and adjacent bathroom and 2 sleeper couches in the lounge. All units have DSTV, fireplace and a private patio with braai facilities.


Reception, putt putt and inside a self catering unit


The Monks Cowl staff are very friendly and helpful but don’t expect much assistance from the resident cat – Tom. He does however love to have his photo taken and you should get a visit from him in the bar at night.


Have a relaxing massage at La Vita Spa and enjoy great food at Friar Tuck


This was my third stay at Gooderson Monks Cowl and it was fabulous to be back, to see familiar faces and the views of the beautiful mountains. It was also great to have a new experience by attending the bird show at Falcon Ridge.





I have written about Monks Cowl before so click through and read here and here about my previous experiences.


To make a booking contact the Monks Cowl resort on monksres@goodersons.co.za or Gooderson central booking on their WebBookings


Don't miss out on the Winter Special. Stay from R975.00 per person per night, dinner, bed and breakfast. The price is valid until 31 August 2017.




Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Meandering Through the Midlands Part Two

Welcome to Part 2 of Meandering through the Midlands. In Part 1 I covered what we did on the Monday and Tuesday and now you will find out what we did and where we went for the rest of the week.

Wednesday started the usual way by waking up early to watch the sunrise over the valley and then we had breakfast and got ready to go. I drove the usual route into Mooi River and then along the old main road through to Nottingham Road. The first place we went to was Lilac Crane and it is very close to the bridge on Nottingham Road. The shop is filled with local arts and crafts and I found a beautiful necklace with the pendant made from a vintage ceramic plate and a handmade coconut coffee soap. I really wanted to buy a dish cloth with a coffee design printed on it. Unfortunately it was a bit too expensive.

Lilac Crane



We hadn’t chosen the next place to visit as we had decided to just take a slow drive and see what caught our eye. A sign with “The Shed – crafts and coffee” looked interesting so we turned off the road and drove up and over the railway tracks. My Mom chatted to the owner and discovered the building was a former chicken shed which they had now converted into a coffee and craft shop. A lot of the crafts for sale had been created by the owner and they were so well made. The train track was very close to the building and we saw 2 trains go by while we were there.

The Shed


Our next stop was suggested by Carryn as it is one of her favourite places to go to when she visits the Midlands Meander – Peter’s Gate Herbal Centre. We decided to look around the shop first before ordering tea. I bought a wonderful smelling lavender room spray and a cream that can be used on pets when they injure themselves. Carryn and I felt like having Rooibos tea and we really enjoyed the Laager Citrus & Ginger Rooibos tea that we were offered. Mom had her usual Five Roses tea. There was a cool breeze blowing but we enjoyed sitting on the veranda in the warm morning sun. In fact we found it very difficult to leave, but our tummies helped a lot by reminding us that it was nearly lunch time.

Peter's Gate Herbal Centre



We had decided on Caversham Mill as our lunch stop, but we first planned to look at the menu before a final decision was made. More dirt roads to drive on to get there but fortunately they were not teeth rattling and there was nice scenery. Ardmore is very close to Caversham Mill, practically a neighbour and we decided to go and see them after lunch – don’t forget the tummies were rumbling. The restaurant can only be reached by driving over a single lane bridge but there was no one around when I got there. Caversham Mill is not cheap but we were too hungry to go and find somewhere else to have lunch and the menu had delicious sounding items on it.

I am very pleased to say the servings were a very good size and the pot pie that I chose was delicious. The pie that day was chicken and mushroom and it came with vegetables and mashed potato. Carryn had soup with homemade bread and Mom had quiche and vegetables. Of course we had looked at the desserts before ordering our lunch and Crème Brulee was on it! So I’m sure you can guess what Carryn and I ordered. It was relaxing watching and listening to the water flow. Lots of old photos are on the walls showing what the mill used to look like and you can read its history as well. The mill wheel was washed away in a big flood many years ago. Definitely a place for a return visit.

Caversham Mill


After our delicious lunch we drove up the road to go and look at Ardmore. I’m sure you have heard and know all about Ardmore, but just in case let me tell you. Ardmore Ceramic Art was formed over 25 years ago and about 40 artists collaborate under the mentorship of the award winning founder, Fee Halstead. They create pieces that feature in fine art collections and exhibitions around the world. All I can stay is WOW! The intricate work, the animals and the sheer size of some of the ceramic pieces. It is part museum (dedicated to those artists who have died), part gallery and part showroom. The only problem is that you need very deep pockets or a strong credit card in order to buy one of the ceramic pieces. So we enjoyed looking and taking lots of photos.

Ardmore


On Thursday we decided to stay close to home base as I had done a lot of driving and we also wanted to spend some time doing more walking around Midlands Saddle & Trout. First on the list was the all important tea and scones that are served at 10am outside the restaurant. Oh my they were yummy – topped with just the right amount of jam and cream. Quite a few people came to sit in the warm morning sun and enjoy their tea and most stayed to play Bingo. We took a walk over to the Spa once we were done as we wanted to smell the perfumes they sell there and then checked what the night’s activities were on the board by reception. Carryn and I decided that we would go for the marshmallow braai at 6pm. We then walked back to our unit so that we could get the car and go to the first of two places that we were visiting that day.

Midlands Saddle and Trout


Remember in Part One where I mentioned that we had passed a fascinating church on the way into Mooi River? I had Googled and found the website and then emailed the owners to ask if we could visit and received a reply in the affirmative. I just needed to phone the caretaker and arrange a time. It was arranged for Thursday and we just needed to go and look before 12pm as guests would be arriving later. Guests? Guests in a church? Yes because this was no longer a church but a self catering guesthouse called St. Andrew's Retreat.

We drove through the original stone entrance and parked close to the added under covered parking with a building on top. We discovered later that this was another room and bathroom. The caretaker met us and said we were welcome to look inside, in fact everywhere. I had thought that we would just be looking around the outside of the building and was thrilled that we could see what they had done inside. It was amazing! The original stain glass windows and even the baptism font are still there while the stone pulpit hides a gas heater. There are 3 bedrooms inside the converted church and all have double beds and an en-suite bathroom. Two bedrooms are on the ground floor and the 3rd bedroom has been added above them. There are the most beautiful views over the garden and beyond from the windows of the 3rd bedroom and it is definitely the most luxurious. There is a fully fitted kitchen with a gas stove, two lounges and a dining room. All areas except the bedrooms are open plan. The church was built in 1906 and the owners have taken great care to keep original features and create a warm welcoming place to stay.

St. Andrew's Retreat interior


It was wonderful to walk around the beautifully layed out and maintained garden. A great place to sit and reflect on the beauty of the building and garden is under the lush arbour. After looking around the garden we took a look at the bedroom car port extension. It has a beautiful bedroom, bathroom and small lounge to relax in. St. Andrew's Retreat is definitely a place I would love to return to and stay at.

St. Andrew's Retreat exterior


After visiting St. Andrews Retreat we drove to Lords of the Manor which is next door to Midlands Saddle & Trout, it actually shares a boundary fence. Lords of the Manor was at one time called Oatesdale and was the home of the Oates family. My Father’s uncle married Muriel Oates and Dad stayed at Oatsdale when he was a little boy. The house had no electricity at that time and Dad had to climb the scary creaky stairs holding a candle. I’m pleased to say that is not the case now.

Lords of the Manor


We were very warmly welcomed and shown into the small lounge area and our order taken for cappuccinos (Carryn and I) and tea (Mom). They serve Terbodore coffee. While we were waiting the general manager Max Youngleson came to greet us and Mom asked if we could go up the stairs to see the upper level. Well it was even better than that as we were given a guided tour by a member of staff and even the owner of Lords of the Manor chatted to us. We were shown a family suite, classic suite and an executive suite which contains an original fireplace.  A joy to see another beautiful old stone building.

After Lords of the Manor it was back home to our cosy unit at Midlands Saddle & Trout. We had lunch and sat on the comfortable couch with blankets and watched a movie. Carryn and I decided to take a walk down to the trout dam and we were very surprised to discover how the weather had changed. A very cold wind was blowing and it had become very cloudy. It was a very “refreshing” walk and we watched while 2 brave fly fisherman tried to catch trout. After taking a few photos we headed back to the warmth of the unit. After supper Carryn and I ventured out again -  this time over to the bonfire area as we wanted to attend the marshmallow braai. Unfortunately they did not have enough people wanting to attend the braai so it was not happening. We were very sad as we had a craving for braaied marshmallows. A staff member told us to go and ask for some marshmallows at the restaurant. We did just that and were given enough to chase away the craving. The restaurant has been beautifully re-decorated and Carryn and spent quite a long time trying to get the perfect photo of their lighting. Then it was back to the unit and I started the fire so we could have our braaied marshmallows.

After another great night’s sleep we had to pack up and check out. It was quick and easy as I handed over the keys to the unit and we received a drive safely pack that contained small bottles of water for our journey. I drove out slowly so we could see the horses one last time. Midlands Saddle & Trout you were fabulous!

Just in case you think that the adventures were over – nope you would be wrong! We were driving into Mooi River to get onto the freeway when I heard a strange noise from the back of the car. I put my hazards on and slowly pulled over to the side of the road. At the same time a man in an Audi pulled up next to me. I wound down my window and asked him if it was my tyre and he said it was the back right. He asked if I could manage and I said I would not be able to. What a blessing to have someone right there when my tyre went flat. We had a chat as he changed my tyre and he said he worked at Hartford House and we told him about our lovely time there. It turned out that the man who stopped and changed my tyre was the Executive Chef Constantijn Hahndiek! We all thanked him profusely and gave him a hug. I then drove slowly into Mooi River to get the changed tyre pumped and we headed to Howick.

Howick and not home? Yip we had to end off our meandering adventures by stopping at ALL the charity shops in Howick and with coffee at the new Treatery at Yard41. A fitting end to our meandering through the Midlands adventures.

The Treatery at Yard41




I know that I didn’t mention picking up the keys at Midlands Saddle & Trout and that is because my family (husband and kids) and I went up on Saturday 3 June to fetch them and take a look at the unit. My daughter Laura and I took the opportunity to have an hour long horse ride. We rode very spirited horses and had a fabulous time. I have never seen so many horses at a resort before and I did confirm that all the horses belong to them. We had lunch in the restaurant (delicious curry, burgers and toasted sandwiches) and I was thrilled to discover that the coffee they serve is supplied by Skyline Coffee Roasters.

Restaurant at Midlands Saddle & Trout serves Skyline Coffee


Hour long horse ride on very spirited horses - great fun!


Yes this is the end!!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Meandering Through the Midlands Part One

We were recently offered the use of a friend’s timeshare at Midlands Saddle & Trout just outside Mooi River and of course we jumped at the chance to get away. I phoned my Mother and told her she was going away and then voice noted my sister to see if she could join us as well. Everything happened so quickly and I soon found myself driving to the airport to fetch my sister from her flight from Jhb.

Monday 5 June I fetched my Mom and sister and we drove up to Midlands Saddle & Trout to start our 5 days of adventures. Midlands Saddle & Trout is run by First Group Management and they are currently embarking on a makeover of all the units on the property. We had units 29a and 29b but we decided to just stay together in 29a. The unit had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining area, kitchen, lounge with a fireplace and a patio. This particular unit can sleep 6 – double bed in main room, 2 single beds and the 2 sleeper couches. We had cooked some meals in preparation for our stay as we didn’t want to cook while there, only heat up and eat. It took approximately and hour and a half to drive there and we quickly unpacked so that we could go and visit a few places.


Midlands Saddle & Trout. I love the elephant and swan towel shapes


My husband Neil had worked out the route for us to drive so that we didn’t have to pay toll fees all the time. We decided that every day we would drive to the furthest place we wanted to see and then stop at other places on the way back to home base. The first stop for Monday was the wood and iron church of St. James in Nottingham Road. My Mom and I had been there before but we wanted Carryn to experience it. In order to reach Nottingham Road we had to drive into Mooi River (potholes galore) and then out again and onto the old road that was used before the freeway was built. It was a very pleasant drive and we passed the most fascinating old church on the way – you will see about that later.

It was a beautiful Midlands morning and we spent about 30 minutes walking around the St. James church grounds and taking numerous photos.


The wood and iron church of St. James


We then drove back under the bridge at Nottingham Road and went to Country Company which we had passed on the way. This shop is owned by Anne Colle and is filled with the most beautifully curated items. Clothes from Cape Town, decor items from around South Africa and of course the fabric swatch books so people can choose a fabric for curtaining etc. There is an Anne Colle owned shop in Hillcrest that I haven’t visited in years and I think I need to make a plan to go there again. We spent at least an hour oohing and aahing over the entire decor and my Mom had a good chat to the manager of the shop.


Country Company


The final stop for the day took us back into and out of Mooi River and onto the most pot holed road I have ever driven on. But the drive was worth it as we reached our destination – Hartford House. I have wanted to visit Hartford House for years but every time we visit the Midlands Meander we tend to go to places on Route 2, 3 and 4. A beautiful stone wall entrance greeted us and I drove slowly down a winding road and through more stone wall entrances until we finally reached the end. There was ivy covered Hartford House surrounded by green lawns, a big garden and fountain water features. We walked up onto the veranda and then into the house which is filled with beautiful statues, Ardmore ceramics, stained glass panels in the ceilings and other amazing decor. We felt like we were in a museum or library as we found ourselves whispering to each other.


Hartford House (photos taken by Carryn Paikin)


The decision was made to sit on a lovely comfy couch on the veranda and order our tea and cake. Yes I do know that I Run On Coffee but this occasion called for Earl Grey tea. The pastry chef came to tell us what cakes were available – coffee nut cake, cheesecake and chocolate cake. My sister Carryn and I chose the coffee nut cake and Mom chose cheesecake. The storm blinds were down on the veranda and the heaters were on, so we were very comfortable as we enjoyed our tea and cake. The coffee nut cake was amazing and there was no scrimping on nuts. In fact we were not able to finish and took home quite a large piece. After tea we took our time as we wandered around the garden and through the vine covered arbour. We also took a look at Tijnhuis which is a stone, glass and thatch building where guests can sit and enjoy a light meal or high tea.


Hartford House


It was now late into the afternoon and we had to leave before it got dark as I didn’t want to drive the road back to Midlands Saddle & Trout at night. We had put on the wall heaters in the rooms before we left so our unit was so warm and welcoming. Carryn and I went for a walk to the stables and to see the horses in the paddocks. It was a chilly evening and we made sure to zip up our jackets while we took photos of the horses and the sunset. Midlands Saddle & Trout has the best looking horses, stables and paddocks that I have ever seen at a resort.

We ended our first day with supper and chatting, and me having the task of starting the fire in the fireplace of the unit. I’m so used to my husband making the fire and I have never done it and actually found it hard. I was finally successful after using 2 firelighters and lots of newspaper.

The next day started dark and early when I was out on the veranda waiting for the sun to rise over the valley – very, very well wrapped up in a blanket. This became a daily event for us as the sun rises were so spectacular.


Misty valley sunrise


Panoramic view


After breakfast we headed out for another day of adventure. We drove into Mooi River and then onto the N3 to go to the Lions River Trading Post. We got quite a shock that the toll onto the freeway was R32 when we thought that it was R14. We took the turn off at Lion’s River and it was quite a teeth rattling drive on the dirt road to Lions River Trading Post. It was so teeth rattling that we changed our minds about driving back on that road to go to Groundcover Leather Company and Old Halliwell Country Inn.

Lions River Trading Post is filled with vintage furniture, paintings, crockery, cutlery and lots of other fascinating items. My sister was thrilled to find a Tala flour sifter in great condition and at a reasonable price. We spent over an hour at the Trading Post and there were so many items that I would have loved to buy for home.



It was coffee time and we all had a craving for scones and what a better place to find them than at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Carryn had also never been there before. Warm greetings + warm fireplace + hot coffee + delicious big farmhouse scones with jam and cream = Bliss. We spent at least 2 hours at Granny Mouse chatting to each other, chatting to the staff and then showing Carryn around. I have written many times about the beautiful Granny Mouse Country House & Spa so take a look on the blog.

Love, love the farmhouse scones


Before heading back to home base we went to take a look at Brahman Hills which is situated on Nottingham Road just over the freeway. I had been following them for sometime on social media and was interested to see it. They really follow their theme of Brahman cattle closely – metal Brahman shapes by the property entrance and numerous paintings throughout the reception, coffee shop, restaurant and veranda. There wasn’t space for us to have coffee together in the coffee shop so a member of staff showed us through to the veranda and the comfortable couches there. We loved the biscuits served with the cappuccino – a sort of choc chip shortbread butter biscuit. We were joined by one of the resident cats, there are four in total. It took a special liking to my sister and Mom and loved the attention it was getting.

Brahman Hills


This is the end of part one of our Midlands trip and in part 2 I will tell you where we went and what we saw on the other 3 days.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Umgeni Steam Railway

Steam train travel is from a bygone era and it is sad that we no longer seem to use trains as a means of travel anymore. Fortunately a dedicated group of volunteer train enthusiasts has formed the Umgeni Steam Railway, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of railway heritage in South Africa. The Umgeni Steam Railway has taken on the task of repairing and maintaining steam locomotives and carriages for use on the Kloof to Inchanga rail line (I was interested to find out that trains cannot use the line to Durban as it is overgrown).

Before boarding the train. Stokers Arms in Kloof


The steam train runs on the last Sunday of the month and there are two trips. One in the morning and another in the afternoon. The train is also in use on special occasions such as Mother’s or Father’s day, but they usually use a diesel locomotive as it can pull more carriages. The train leaves from Stokers Arms in Kloof and also returns there.

On the way to Inchanga

On the way to Inchanga




Take a look at the Umgeni Steam Railway Website and Facebook pages to see the dates.

Ticket prices are :

R240.00 Adults
R170.00 Kids and Pensioners


All Aboard!!


"Wesley" the steam engine



Sad to see the terrible state that Botha's Hill station is in. My great grandfather was station master