National Alpaca Day is a thing, in case you didn’t know.
I didn’t know, even though I am obsessed with them. But as soon as I found out, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to see one in real life! I spotted a Facebook event by Serena Alpaca to come to their farm in the Midlands. Road trip to the Midlands for a day? If I have to…
Well! it was more than I could have imagined. Just as we drove in I started getting giddy as we saw the first lot in their fenced off area. They are the cutest things I have ever seen! It was already the best day ever, I had decided. Realising that there was definitely more to this farm than just the welcoming committee we thought we should go explore more.
We drove up to the main farm, reluctantly, but oh my gosh this was even better! We got to go in the actual pen and feed them, what an experience! We stayed for over an hour, maybe more, because I just couldn’t get enough of them.
You know I had to get out to do a #JaneJump!
IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!
Alpaca selfie!! I actually couldn’t stop or be held back at this stage.
Granny Mouse Country House is a name that most people in Durban know. For me, hearing that name created images of fire places, hot chocolate, fluffy blankets and cute thatched cottages. Basically what I had seen in photos online, is what you get in person.
It was way better than I could have imagined.
This trip came at the perfect time, I was going through the biggest loss of my life to date, my precious Queen Joan (my granny) had passed away a few days before. I contemplated not going, but then I thought if you’re going to be sad somewhere, it might as well be at gorgeous Granny Mouse. It also helped having Cath with me to keep me laughing and my mind busy. She helped, A LOT!
From the moment we arrived we were treated as family. For me, that’s such a new feeling when staying somewhere, because usually you’re just a number. At Granny Mouse, you’re part of their family, as they welcome you home.
I was a bit worried going in Winter, to the Midlands, because I know how cold it gets. So I really packed all of the warm clothes I have, but, I didn’t need them when we were in our beautiful suite! There was the most perfect fireplace, as well as electric blankets on the bed. To say we were warm would be an understatement! It was so nice and toasty.
The view from our room was amazing. I claimed a reading corner very quickly! This can also double up as kiddie beds, or as we like to say, it’s Delia sized. (She is our tiny friend who we tried to convince to drive up spontaneously).
Everything in the room has the most amazing attention to details. I am somewhat of a bath hog, so to see the amount of bath oil, bath salts and bubble bath made my visions of a giant Sunset bath that much more real.
After settling into our room we headed to our spa appointment! Present Jane was loving past Jane for once again being brilliant in guessing what future Jane would want. It really is a gift.
On our way to the spa, we decided we HAD to take some selfies at their epic selfie frame! I mean, they’ve gone to so much trouble, it would be rude not to. I would like to tell you about the photos Cath took without her glasses on, but I can’t because she would kill me.
But look how fun these ones are! I had to do a #JaneJump of course.
Everything about these grounds just screams magical. Walking around you feel like you’re somewhere else completely, but at the same time you have that warmth that only home can bring. We had an amazing time at the spa, and we had a little look inside the chapel. I can see why this is such a sought after wedding venue! I even caught Cath in the act of getting the perfect shot 😉
We were treated to the most incredible dinner experience. Wow. A private 3 course dinner in the wine cellar! When they said the cellar, I thought it was the name of the restaurant. Nope, the literal wine cellar. Just the two of us! It was such an amazing experience, honestly. The food was incredible! I have not eaten like that ever. The dessert! I would go back just for the dessert it was ridiculous.
After dinner we moved to the lounge area to sit by the fire and just be. With everything that I was going through this time was just so perfect. We chatted, we instagram storied, we laughed. Perfection.
We went back to our room, made a fire, got into our onesies and had some tea! What an epic girls night.
Waking up to that view was like a dream. We made some tea and headed outside for morning tea on the deck.
It was a bit cold that day so we bundled up and headed to breakfast. After breakfast we decided to do the short river trail walk. It was short enough to enjoy but long enough to feel like you’ve done something. You can do the longer version, but we weren’t feeling too adventurous that day.
We just loved our time at Granny Mouse and this room is definitely on our list of favourite spaces! I know I will definitely be back.
Granny Mouse isn’t just a good looking gal, she has accomplished some pretty big things in her life.
The Eaves restaurant was chosen in the Eat Out Top 500 restaurants in South Africa for the third time as well as being voted the winner of Service Excellence- KwaZulu-Natal- South Africa in The Luxury Travel Guide Awards (Africa & Middle East Awards 2017).
Among other awards, they have won Best Luxury Accommodation & Spa Resort in KZN as well as the Hospitality Manager of the Year 2017 for KZN in the Sub-Saharan Enterprise Awards 2017.
Who wouldn’t want to stay somewhere that has won those accolades? I can tell you they’re all well deserved.
Thank you to Granny Mouse for being so accommodating and having such a family vibe towards everyone who visits. It is so refreshing to feel like one of the family!
I came across the awesome brand Joe Blikzem, because one of my friends Jodie was wearing it a lot in her photos, and I was pretty curious. I vaguely remember the name from a few years back, but wasn’t sure. So it turns out that my old Crossfit coach has now taken over the brand and I am so stoked for him! I was so impressed with the product that I hopped on immediately and bought some vests! I’m a vest girl, not a fan of sleeves, so I got some of the men’s vests as well and they are SO comfy! I was super impressed with the service, I ordered late afternoon and they were at my door the following afternoon! The quality is awesome, the pricing is brilliant and the service is efficient! I am also obsessed with their tagline: Vat nie kak nie! Let’s have a chat with Jason Donnison about this epic brand!
Tell us a bit about your background in Durban?
I’ve lived in Durban for most of my life and I love it. For the past few years I’ve been involved in the fitness industry and it’s still something I’m really passionate about but I needed to try my hand at something different.
When did you start your brand?
I didn’t actually start the brand. It started in about 2010 and was really popular. For the last 12-18 months it’s been off the scene but we’re bringing it BACK!
Tell us about your brand
Joe Blikzem is a clothing brand with a bit of attitude. Every item has a story and the brand has a ‘personality’. We’re a brand that likes to stand out and as the tag line suggests, “Vat Nie Kak Nie!” (VNKN). There’s a bit of Joe Blikzem in every South African.
What is your favourite thing about your brand?
It is so South African! Everything is locally made, so its for South Africans, by South Africans. Most of our items have a very local theme because we love this country and try to celebrate it as much as possible, in our own Joe Blikzem way 😉
What would you like people to know about your brand?
Firstly that it’s BACK!
Secondly, how versatile our garments are. Everything is great as ‘everyday wear’ but something that people have commented on is how comfortable it is to exercise in. It’s an idea that we’re thinking about as we plan new ranges going forward so watch this space.
What do you love about living and working in Durban?
Durban is such an exciting city and so much opportunity has emerged over the last few years. There used to be this idea that there wasn’t much opportunity here and you had to go to other parts of the country for a real chance. I think that’s changed recently and there’s so much going on here nowadays.
How can people support you?
We have an online shop at www.joeblikzem.co.za and people can buy straight from there. They can also check out our Facebook and instagram pages. We’re always out and about in Durban so you can check what we’re up to from there and come and say howzit.
I have to get a confession out of the way, I raided your cupboards already. I took some shirts and a few other trinkets. I’m wearing one of them as a jacket today. Thanks, you were always the trendy one. I’m wearing your rings as well. They’re soon to be changed into something fabulous and fancy, as you would say. You’ll approve. We all know how you like to be fancy!
How am I meant to say good bye to you?
I’m literally asking because I have no idea. Sure, we knew it would be coming because you’re 93 and as much as you thought you were fancy, you weren’t no superhero or part of the cast of Twilight. I had told myself I was preparing for this since last year already, but when it comes down to it, it’s still a shock and doesn’t feel real. Even now writing this I’m thinking you’re probably ready to announce it’s tea time by asking me if I want some tea, and then I end up making it for us anyway. I see your stealth mode, very smart. Sneaky, but smart.
I think we’re going to see a decline in the Milady’s sales. You loved your new shirts and always exclaimed “Your granny is very hip!” Yes, you definitely were.
My favourite time, Selfie time. Gloria knew when I walked in the door I would make you do snapchat filters and selfies straight away. You would say no, but then fix your hair in the screen and pose. I don’t know how your loyal snapchat fans are going to deal with the withdrawals of seeing you with the latest filter on your face. I know I’m going to miss it. You have quite a fanbase judging from the amount of messages I received saying how sad they were that their favourite snapchat star had retired. And I quote “I fell in love with your gran on snapchat and I am so heartsore, not only for you but for me as well”. I don’t think I bargained on you being the star of the show, I created a monster. A cute, funny, loveable monster.
(I would show you all the videos but my mom and Ally aren’t fans. Gloria is though! Come see me after and I’ll show you outside)
You’re probably quite smug now knowing I have to take selfies alone. I guess when it’s the second sentence that comes out of my mouth after “Hello granny”, you came to expect it and perhaps your eye rolling was warranted. I think you secretly loved it though. Your protests were very short lived.
I loved our letter writing when I lived overseas. I was so home sick I would wait for those letters from you. There’s something special about writing and receiving a letter that just can’t be compared with. I’m going to go and get them out and start reading them again. I know they always ended with, “Your ever loving granny” and that’s just what you were.
Ever loving. Ever laughing. Ever smiling.
*** Update: I went through the first few last night and Nick and I were laughing so much he was crying. When I was homesick the first few months she proceeded to give me a talking to in her letters and basically told me to suck it up and also to stop shopping! She mostly told me what was going on with who and where and why. She was like a walking google. I definitely remembered them a little differently.
What a character you were. A Dame as you liked to call yourself. You were a cross between a Dame and a Queen in my eyes. So fancy. So royal. You loved to speak like a regal royal as well.
Teaching you to pout was one of my favourite things. That and making you stick your tongue out for pictures. Mom would be heard in the background “Don’t make her look ugly”, but you didn’t, you always looked cute. (I’ve got videos of that too)
I remember when you made Bruce and I matching gowns. I don’t know how he felt about wearing a matching Care Bears gown, but I loved it! Carla and I got matching clothes every time she came out from the UK. We were the cutest. I definitely got my sewing gene from you.
Your teeth. You were so proud to still have all of your teeth! I loved bringing it up just so you would go on a tangent about how most people your age don’t have any of their teeth, but you did because you looked after them and it is definitely an Elburg trait. This conversation went on for about ten minutes by the way. Very proud.
When mom and dad would abandon us to go overseas (abandon/leave behind) you would look after us. I don’t remember being too sad, because you always made it fun and it really felt like time flew. It could also be because they brought back amazing presents as well. But I really think its because we had the best time with you. Baking and sewing and having you all to myself. I loved every minute of it. I blame you for my sweet tooth, because you were the best baker and you taught me to bake. Let’s just say I’m glad I went into the field I did or I might be starring in “My 500 pound life”. Moving to Durban was the best thing my parents ever did for us, because it meant we got to live with you for the first year and then be 2km away from you for 28 years. Not many people can say that they were able to see their Granny every day or even every week!
I used to love popping in on my way past. I always knew I could tempt you out with the mention of a cappuccino. There’s not much you loved more than a good old cappuccino. You could be lying down in your pjs when I arrived and you had never moved quicker!
Up, dressed and in the car in 5mins. We would often go on our solo coffee missions on a whim. I think I might have even forgotten to call and tell mom once, and she came to find you missing and possibly thought you had made a run for it.
Things you loved: Cappucino. Apple crumble. Cake. I remember for your birthday this year you were sleeping in your chair. I lit the candle in the wicked donut, placed it on the table in front of you and somehow you were rising with an outstretched hand and about to pick up the whole donut and shove it into your mouth. I kept thinking, thats my girl! While also thinking, she’s going to swallow it candle and all! At least you had your priorities straight, sugar first safety second!
Rest In Peace my beautiful Queen Joan. My favourite person in the world (Sorry Nick) My best friend. My cappuccino companion. My baking teacher. My selfie partner. My “No I’m too ugly to be on camera” but poses anyway character. My heart. My soul. My everything.
I’m sure you’ll miss her snapchat and instagram stories as much as me!
I have to say this, I am so at peace with how I treated my granny, what I did for her since I left school and could drive, and just in general with regards to my time. That is all your loved ones want from you, TIME. I gave her my time and my love. I have zero guilt about the amount of time I saw her, and the things I did for her, because I visited more than once a week, sometimes 4 times a week! It is the best feeling in the world not having any regrets. It’s even better knowing that she knew that too and I know she valued the time I gave her.
If you don’t visit your grandparents or parents or siblings much, do it! You won’t regret it. That feeling is priceless and one that I highly recommend. It helps a lot in this time of extreme heart break and sadness. It is hard enough dealing with a huge loss, and to have regret and guilt on top of it would be soul destroying for me. So do it! Today!
Also, take pictures and videos. Take as many as you can. Even if your family try fight you on it, like she did, just do it because that is all you have left. I have a folder of 500ish items and I am so grateful for it.
Here’s a little video I made of my favourite Grannyisms:
I already miss her so much, but I am so glad I am about to breathe life into her wedding bands and have her with me every day.
Ok Durban, we always complain that nothing comes here, but now Pop Up Gym is coming here so rejoice!
Pop Up Gym is the brainchild of Khethiwe Mhlangeni and Letshego Zulu. It is the most amazing Pop Up Gym event, that I have been admiring on social media for ages, and now it is finally in Durban!
We always complain that we don’t get cool things, well it is here and we better support it or we won’t get nice things guys…
This once off event is taking place THIS Saturday at Suncoast on the Sundeck. It is from 8-12 and is going to be tons of fun! There will be workouts like kickboxing, aerobics and partner workouts. There will be awesome giveaways as well, including a R5000 goodie bag to a lucky participant on that morning. *I’m gunning for that!
What will you do with the kids you say?
Did we mention that you can bring your children as well? Incase you were worried about who is going to look after your little ones at the event there is a fun plan for them. They will be learning about their health and fitness the best way they know how to – with games.