Category: Explore

Sunday Lunch Made Easy with Zapper

Has anyone ever tried eating out as a family with more than one kid at the table? We have and it’s chaos, but sometimes it’s worth the chaos for an afternoon out of the house and a break from the kitchen. It was time for us to get out the house and let someone else do the Sunday lunch cooking, but where to go? We hardly ever venture away from the tried and tested but I was ready for something new.

Zapper to the rescue! Not unlike most moms, I’ve become a real ‘specials’ seeker and so when Zapper approached me to review their app with promises that they could make the eating out process easy, I hopped to it and downloaded it straight away. Zapper is really big in Durban, but this Cape Town mom was a real novice. This is what I discovered about the app: not only do first time Zapper users get R25 off their first bill, but Zapper also has features that allow you turn on your smartphone location and do a search for nearby restaurants. I spent some time scrolling through the various options and even discovered a new-to-me coffee spot three roads away. From the app you can check out each restaurant’s website or call them directly from the app to make a booking. You can also scan and load your cards and pay your bill via the app.

Zapper makes it easy to find restaurant specials in your area and you can also accumulate and redeem loyalty cards on the app.

So, where should we go? I drive past The Eatery Wood Fired Grill at least twice a day and have been curious to visit since it opened. I also know that the kids love their play area because they share it with Vida Belvedere and we’re regulars over there. Although The Eatery didn’t pop to my mind as a suitable lunch destination option straight away, my investigative skills led me to discover that they have a R69 lunch special every day of the week (and they have vegetarian burgers on the lunch menu). Perfect! I gave them a call via the app and set up our reservation for a table close to the play area.

Half an hour later the kids were noisily enjoying the play area and we ordered our meal. I chose the Mushroom Burger and Ryan had the Shisa Steak and Chips off the lunch menu. I ordered 2 x Kiddies meals for the kids and split it between the three of them which worked out well as the portion sizes were pretty big. Fast forward to payment and I was able to scan the restaurant’s QR code via my Zapper app, and enter in a total including a tip. It was quicksticks. My folks paid the remainder via a credit card so the app works well even if you split the bill. No fuss!

The chaotic family table with evidence of crayons and colouring in. My mushroom burger was so good.
We don’t send anything back to the kitchen, Not even the lemon in the water jug.
The glorious play area.
Ilan actually pushed impatiently pushed Judah down the slides, but luckily it ended in smiles.
Winner winner, chicken nuggets and chips for dinner.

Thanks for the treat, Zapper!

*Disclaimer: Zapper gave us a restaurant voucher to trial their app, but didn’t pay for this review.

Swimming Isn’t Just for Summer! A Perfect Family Getaway at Goudini Spa

Our family had been anticipating this family getaway for a very long time and the kids had been practising saying ‘Goudini’ over and over with the sweetest pronunciation attempts. And finally the time came to pack up our car and set off for a hot spring adventure! As we popped through the other side of the Huguenot Tunnel, the excitement in our little Getz was palpable. I breathed in the fresh mountain air and was completely awestruck by the magnificent beauty of the Du Toits Kloof mountain range. A few more minutes down the road and we found ourselves at Goudini Spa, which is in total a mere hour away from Cape Town, give or take a few roadworks.

If you have kids who love swimming as much as ours do, you can appreciate how this trip was a match made in Heaven for our family. We were spoilt by being set up in the new Slanghoek Villas but there is a diverse range of accommodation available to suit any budget or you could choose to camp or caravan. The Slanghoek Villas are located higher up on the mountain which means that you need to hop in your car to get to the hot pools (unless you’re up for a VERY steep climb back to the top after your swim), but the peace and tranquility are so worth the short drives from villa to pool. We shared the villa with my parents and my sister, her husband and my brother stayed at a Rondavel just down the road.

The Slanghoek Villas sleep six and are kitted out with three comfy rooms (one with aircon & a hairdryer), bedding, two bathrooms, TV with limited DSTV, almost full kitchen (no oven) and a nice big braai with outdoor seating. There is also a fireplace in the lounge for winter visits. You can opt to have your villa cleaned daily (with the delivery of fresh towels) at no extra cost and we were pleasantly surprised when someone knocked on our door to come and clean up the the braai area for us on the Saturday. Seriously great, friendly service.

Take a peak into our accommodation and be wowed by the valley vistas:

How’s this view from our accommodation, overlooking the Slanghoek Villas. Simply breathtaking.
Each of the rooms has a door that opens onto an outside stoep. My folks slept with their door open for fresh air.
The lounge area. This is where I almost won a game of Monopoly.
The kitchen with unusually high counter tops, that quickly became the spot where we placed everything that we didn’t want the kids to fiddle with.

As lovely as our villa was, we spent virtually every waking moment in one of the three public pool areas and the many hours in the pool really grew the kids’ swimming confidence. The pools are beautifully kept, surrounded by lush green grass and there is also a security presence subtly keeping an eye on everything at all times.The pools open at 6am every morning and only close at 11pm and we made the most of it! There is also a free entry super tube for the bigger kids and Ilan went down countless times with anyone willing to take him. I love that Goudini is a real rainbow nation holiday choice and that people of every age and shape are welcome to enjoy the hot springs without a fear of ‘bikini body’ or ‘dad bod’ judgement. Goudini just isn’t that type of place.

Check out this video of our little swimming star and then some pool action in the pics below:

Our little swimmer!

A post shared by Jules Kynaston (@heartmamablog) on

The early birds get the pool to themselves.
The kids loved their before-breakfast swims in the shallow paddle pools.
When your mom is a blogger you have to pose for a hundred photos, but you’re in a good mood and so you tolerate her behaviour.
A family that swims together.
The kids were high energy the whole weekend, but they slept really well!
Spot the super tube.
‘I’m just chilling, Mommy.’

So, now that I’ve convinced you that ATKV Goudini Spa is a top notch destination for a family holiday, here are six insider tips for packing your suitcase from a family who have gone before you:

1. Pack more than one swimming towel (and costume if possible) – because it’s not fun getting into a wet cozzie or trying to dry yourself with a damp towel.

2. Pack gowns and towels for the kids – Be ready to dry your kids and wrap them up warmly after night time swims and in cooler weather.

3. Take along some inflatables (pool rings, noodles etc) – We bought a few for next to nothing from Osmans & left them with day visitors who came through on the Sunday.

4. Snorkles, goggles, flippers – As much as kids love swimming, it helps to add some other swimming activities into the mix.

5. A water bottle – Whilst food isn’t allowed in the pool area, take a water bottle to keep hydrated otherwise the warm water will give you a headache as well as wrinkly fingers.

6. Cash or card for the Huguenot Tunnel Toll (R38 for an average sized car) – My brother-in-law had to drive back to Paarl to find an ATM as his card wasn’t accepted for some reason. You don’t want to be that guy, especially if you have kids in the car.

Thanks for having us Goudini! We loved everything about our weekend full of warm water swims and fresh mountain air. If you’d like to find out more, please check out www.atkvresorts.co.za/goudinispa-overview.

*Disclaimer: Heart Mama Blog was not paid for this review, but were provided with a complimentary stay in the Slanghoek Villas.

Have you heard? Kids eat free at John Dory’s on Sundays

Ilan and I recently spent a Sunday afternoon at John Dory’s in Canal Walk with a bunch of lovely bloggers and their little ones. It was my first time at John Dory’s largely because I’m a vegetarian and assumed that there wouldn’t be anything on the menu for me (I was wrong!). I also wouldn’t ordinarily choose a restaurant in a mall as my first choice for a family treat, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here why I’d take my family back to John Dory’s:

-Although John Dory’s Canal Walk is situated above the busy food court it has plenty of glass windows letting the outdoor sunshine stream on in and the seating is spacious and less chaotic than other family-friendly restaurants that we’ve visited in the past.

-The kids loved the fantastic indoor play area and it took some convincing to get them to come and sit down to eat their lunch. The kids in the play area were supervised and there was free facepainting the day that we were there too. Win! This meant that us moms got to enjoy a glass of bubbly in peace.

-KIDS EAT FREE ON SUNDAYS – On Sundays kids under 12 eat free: for every adult that is dining off of the main menu, a child (under 12) eats free off kids menu. See the full kids menu here: https://www.johndorys.co.za/Menu/kids

.-The sushi is pretty damn tasty and there are plenty veg sushi options if you’re not a fan of raw fish. You can take advantage of half price sushi on Wednesdays and half price sushi platters on Sundays.

Ilan tucked into his ribs like any other meat-loving kid who has a vegetarian mom who feeds him soya every other night.
Vegetarian sushi is a thing. You should try it sometime.

Take your kids to the top of the world with the Table Mountain Cableway #KidzSeason special

KidzsSeason

Today we took a trip up Table Mountain for the launch of the annual 3-for-1 #KidzSeason special. Two kids ride for FREE with an adult who has purchased a return ticket from the Lower Cable Station – a real win if you have a kid or two! This offer runs until 30 September and is valid on weekends, public holidays, and during the June/July school holidays. (From 1 June 2016, tickets for the #KidzSeason special will be available online but for now they need to be purchased from the Lower Cable Station.)

BONUS: As a part of the Kidz Season experience, all children will receive a treasure hunt map which includes vouchers for treats that can be redeemed from the  Shop at the Top and the Café.  Our kids loved handing over their vouchers and ‘buying’ their fruit dainties and sweets. If I’m completely honest, that’s the very first thing we did when we got to the top of the mountain because when your kids are all under five then a good family outing is all about the snacks, and less about the view. (more…)

What bloggers sometimes do on a Saturday

img_20160409_193607.jpg

So, sometimes bloggers blog and sometimes we hop into an Uber to the #CTmeetup and hang out together and talk about blogging. Earlier this month I went to my first #CTmeetup hosted by Cindy Alfino from 3 Kids, 2 Dogs & 1 Old House. It was great to meet some faces behind the blogs and try to connect the who’s who in the zoo dots.

It was a rather raucous occasion as many bloggers are larger than life in real life and also there was wine. And although this event wasn’t just for Mommy bloggers, many of us in the room were moms who were relishing in an afternoon off from wiping snotty noses and endlessly pouring juice into sippy cups. They say blogging is ‘an escape’ but if you ask me it’s the blogging events on weekends that are really what we look forward to the most. (more…)

Q: Why did the tofu cross the road? A: To prove he wasn’t chicken

img_20160225_225405.jpg

Last week I took my vegetarian self (and a lovely vegetarian-friendly friend) to the Fry’s Vegetarian Cooking evening at Ginger & Lime Food Studio – an interactive cooking school that hosts evening courses in a beautiful home in the heart of Fresnaye. After fighting the traffic in Strand Street to get there (almost) on time, we were welcomed into the dining room with a glass of wine and some vegan sushi platters. It felt as though we’d stepped into a close friend’s dinner party, except that we didn’t know a soul. The place was filled with excited chattering of guests eagerly anticipating an evening of fine dining.

After our sushi starter we stepped into a bright modern kitchen and took our seats centered around the large kitchen counter. Denise, our host for the evening kick started the evening describing her passion for food and then we had the chance to introduce ourselves to each other. As per usual I felt in the minority confessing that I was a vegetarian, although this time it was because I was only vegetarian and not an all-the-way-vegan like the majority of the other guests. (Did you know that you can make vegan bacon? Apparently it tastes just like the real thing…) (more…)

Hello Hamleys! The Finest Toy Shop in the World has hit South Africa

ShGYYIZtP7CO-o4c5_vgPzoFyxDaopSgkqXb7MXm_-Y,oUXl21ryZJRbPElmj7YUS7gINwcKQ0PINZLdoodXZ54,gpqsqsNC55uJ6R_ljoHaBbly4lQHQJnG9xzlRZEQo38

Hamleys South Africa is finally here – Hamleys just opened their doors at the V&A Waterfront and Greenstone Mall. Can I hear a whoop whoop? I have THE best childhood memory of spending (almost) an entire day at Hamleys in Regent Street on a family holiday adventure in Std 3. We were full of wonder and a little starstruck at the multi-level toy shop with row upon row of magical toys. We were each given one pound to spend at Hamleys and after much deliberation I bought a hair styling kit that kept us entertained for the rest of our holiday – the smell of the hair spray still makes me so sentimental.
(more…)

Isn’t The Creamery just the loveliest?

IMG_20140206_174410

The Creamery. What a lovely place. My afternoon of time-outs and tears was rescued by an invitation to eat ice cream with some friends. I have only enjoyed salted caramel in a wafer cone once before, but it is now a firm favourite.

Some reasons why this place is so fabulous:

-They have nice staff who are nice to kids. This is a good start.

-You can taste as much as you like and they don’t get annoyed.

-They give the kids their scoop in an extra big cone which means minimal mess.

-They gave Kira-pie a free mini ice-cream in a cone – what a win!

-No one moaned when we left a table covered in spilt sugar or when Ilan decided to lick the table ‘like a doggy’.

-Jugs of lemon water freely available to rinse your sweet teeth and occupy the kids’ attention for that extra two minutes.

Thank you for saving my afternoon, The Creamery. And thank you Cape Town for another summer day in not-quite-the-middle-of-winter.