Restaurant of the week – The Greenhouse at Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren, Cape Town, Food, Restaurant

I’ve decided to review a new Cape Town restaurant each week or as often as I can. I love trying out new places to eat and we have such an incredible variety of cuisines right at our doorstep. 

This week the restaurant I’ve chosen is The Greenhouse at Babylonstoren, between Franschhoek and Paarl. Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. The farm offers accommodation along with two restaurants – Babel and The Greenhouse. Entrance to the farm is R10 each and it’s well worth the price of admission. The Greenhouse is on the opposite side of the farm to the entrance which offers you a scenic walk through the beautiful fruit and vegetable gardens. The gardens are a sight to behold and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through them. 

The Greenhouse doesn’t take bookings so it was about a 30 min wait to get a table. This was at peak lunch time on a hot Sunday. We were able to buy ice cold water and ice lollies while we waited. 

At last we were seated at a shaded table under the trees. We were served jugs of ice cold water on arrival which was a welcomed treat. The menu is simple and offers boerewors rolls with chips, sandwiches with your choice of fillings and salad. I ordered a ‘yellow juice’ to drink which was absolutely delicious. I’m not sure exactly what was in it but it definitely had carrot and lemon. This was one of three juices made with fresh fruit and vegetables – the others being ‘green’ and ‘red’ juice. The Greenhouse also offers home-made lemonade and Rooibos ice tea, along with their own wine. I ordered a simple ham sandwich on ciabatta bread. They also offer an option of Rye bread. The sandwiches came wrapped in paper, with no plates! The idea is to eat off the paper in your hands. The side salads came in a separate container. It felt more like a picnic but fitted in with the garden setting. I could only get through half the sandwich and took the rest home to enjoy later. 

After a leisurely lunch we decided to explore the farm further and discovered even more hidden gardens and some breathtaking views. I will definitely be back to Babylonstoren and would highly recommend it not just for the food but for the overall experience. 

Rating:

Menu: 6/10
Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Ambience: 9/10

Healthy Tip: Make sure to spend plenty of time exploring the expansive gardens after your lunch and you’ll end up burning some calories in the process. 

      

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My Secret Fitness Weapon

Exercise, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Over the last few years I’ve tried a few different fitness trackers, pedometers and phone apps with varying results of success. At the end of last year I purchased the Garmin VivoFit and have been using it daily since the beginning of the year. The results have been fantastic.  I was initially hesitant about the cost but in hindsight it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made and the benefits greatly out weigh the price.

The tracker I bought came without the heart rate monitor band. This can be included at an additional cost. The device came with 2 different size straps. It works perfectly as a sports watch and I love the fact that it’s waterproof. You are able to sync and transfer information between your PC or phone and your tracker. Before you start you can complete your personal information including your age, weight and height. This calculates your estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is included in the calories burnt section. To get a more accurate indication of calories burnt through daily activities I would recommend purchasing the heart rate monitor. My VivoFit takes into account your steps taken but not the amount of energy expended doing other exercises such as weight lifting or swimming. Unlike cell phone apps, the VivoFit tracker is on me throughout the day so it counts every single step I take. If I’ve been sitting for too long a red line appears which reminds me to get moving. This makes such a difference in daily activities. No longer is it a chore for me to get up and walk to the printer or to go to a colleagues desk to speak to them instead of picking up the phone. I’ve started going on two walks around the block during the day, each taking around 2000 steps. The VivoFit gives you a daily goal based on the amount of steps you took the previous day. Personally I like to ensure that I take atleast 5000 steps a day and so far I’ve managed to exceed it about 95% of the time. It also shows you the distance travelled which can be in km or miles. It’s amazing how far you can walk just by walking around a shopping mall. Yes ladies, shopping can double up as a workout!

Another great feature is the Sleep monitor. I used this frequently in the beginning but don’t currently make use of it only because I don’t love sleeping with a watch on. You just need to change the setting to ‘Sleep’ when you go to bed and the tracker monitors your movements during the night. The next day you can sync your device to your PC or phone and can see how long you slept and how restless or restful it was. This is very interesting when monitored over a week or two. For example I discovered how much better I slept when my partner was in bed next to me. A friend of mine discovered that the opposite was true for him. It can also show you how what and when you eat or drink and how you exercise can all affect sleeping patterns.

Along with the pedometer, calorie counter and sleep monitor, the VivoFit also displays the time and date clearly which makes it double up perfectly as an every day watch.

I’ve become far more active since I started using my VivoFit tracker and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their fitness, no matter what level you’re currently at.

The Garmin VivoFit retails at R1800 from Sportsmans Warehouse. BONUS: If you’re a Discovery Vitality member you get 18000 Discover Miles! www.sportsmanswarehouse.co.za

You can also get the VivoFit on Amazon for $83.99 www.amazon.com

Vivofit 1

VivoFit 2

Midnight Memories

1D, Band, Cape Town, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music, One Direction, Pop

Last night One Direction played to a packed out Cape Town stadium. I was lucky enough to be given complimentary tickets and luxury transfers from City Slicker Limousines. I took my sister who’s never been in a limo before. I myself have only been in one once during my matric rage – of which I have limited memories.

This car certainly did not disappoint. Leather couches, a bar and fancy lighting. It felt more like we were in the VIP section of a club than driving in a vehicle. The free champagne was a welcome treat, especially since we found out that no alcohol would be served at the show. As we neared the stadium we were given the full celebrity treatment, complete with screaming girls running after the car holding up banners and taking our photos. Needless to say they couldn’t actually see us inside the car and it’s pretty safe to assume they thought we were the band. We still felt pretty important, even after we stepped out to disappointed fans who were hoping to catch a glimpse of their idols.

After grabbing a bite to eat at Cafe Extrablatt – a trendy and relatively inexpensive restaurant right opposite the stadium – we braved the hoards of screaming fans to get inside the stadium and find our seats. We were right at the top in the front with a phenomenal view of the entire arena.

The band started only 10 minutes late and played all their greatest hits including ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Little Things’, ‘Story of my Life’ and ‘Night Changes’ amongst others. The guys were perfectly on point, they entertained and engaged the crowd and went on about how grateful they were to be in Cape Town and for all the incredible support. For me this is so important, for musicians to recognize and appreciate their fans. Without them they wouldn’t be where they are today. Nothing was said about the missing member, Zayn, who recently left the band. If I hadn’t heard about him leaving last week I would never have guessed that they hadn’t been a 4-piece group all along. Apart from the 4 lead singers, there was also a pretty impressive back up band. Harry introduced them and they were given their own solo. The show ended off with ‘Best Song Ever’ which was immediately followed by an impressive display of fireworks, lighting up the sky and dazzling the thousands of overwhelmed fans.

All I can say is ‘wow!’ If I wasn’t a One Direction fan before I certainly am after last night. These guys are true musicians and I have so much respect for them. They displayed none of the usual ‘airs and graces’ you would expect from young pop stars and which I’ve witnessed before from some top rock bands. I’m quite confident that their fan base doubled last night with plenty of parents becoming bigger fans than their kids. Thank you to City Slicker Limousines for this amazing experience and to One Direction for not disappointing one bit.

Arriving in Style

 I could get used to this!

The view from up top!

Some close ups of the guys

Harry Styles

Niall Horan

The night ended off with a bang!!

Welcome to my Blog!

Cape Town, Health, Lifestyle

Thank you for reading my blog. This is a place where I’ll share my experiences as a 20-something girl living and working in the most beautiful city in the world. I’ll also be sharing some tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still having fun & enjoying yourself.

After years of yo-yo dieting and a monumental love-hate relationship with food, I’ve finally come to a place where I’m happy with my weight. I’m relatively fit and healthy and am still able to enjoy the finer things in life. My philosophy is an anti ‘all-or-nothing’ approach. I don’t believe in Banting or cutting out any food group but if that works for you then that’s great.

Let me share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years and please feel free to ask me any questions you may have and to share your own stories. At the same time I’ll share some of my favourite places and things to do in and around Cape Town. Here’s to a healthier, happier you!