An unforgettable Paper Anniversary

Unbelievable that a year has gone by

Wow a year already? Just feels like yesterday

A whole year and you two are still so much in love

I heard these statements, and the like, rephrased in many different ways over and over by loved ones for the last week.  I just have to smile because I can believe it has been a year, a wonderful year of being married to my best friend…my soul mate…the first of many years ahead.

Our wedding was small and intimate, as intimate as 80 people can be, we focused on sharing our joy and happiness with the people closest and dearest to us. With one of the best wedding teams in the country, St Francis Links Golf Estate exceeding all our expectations.

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But you all know the story of our wedding…now for the story of our first anniversary.

Monday past, being our first wedding anniversary, represented by paper, I had in my mind that I should expect a gift voucher of sorts – maybe to the day spa or the bookstore…but I am blessed with a very romantic husband.

Sunday afternoon, Justin arrived home from work with 3 envelopes.  I at first took no notice of them as I was very concerned he had forgotten to pick up the odds and ends that were essential to my dinner preparation.  Picking the envelopes up to move out of my way while I frantically dug in the shopping bag, I noticed the one said “1st Anniversary” which obviously grabbed my short attention span away from the shopping packet.

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There in my hand were 3 envelopes marked “1st Anniversary”. The first one, Part 1 was to be opened on Sunday.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love surprises, and even more so, I love the game that goes with a surprise.  Part one was bullet point instructions to pack essentials.  This got me even giddier as not only was it a surprise but it was a going away surprise. I was in my eliminate right there!

Part 2 of my envelopes were only to be opened when Justin told me to do so.  I was dying inside as I needed to know what the next part of the surprise was. But I had to wait…I didn’t do so very patiently, asking every 5kms if I could open the envelope. Eventually the go ahead was give, Part Two was instructions to please help the driver with directions, a map was fastened to the letter.

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Arriving at our destination I was overcome with such love for this man.  He knows the internal workings of my mind so well, he understands how I love being isolated and in a natural environment, yet don’t do the camping / hiking or any general outdoors type activities.  He knows just the right spots.  Our anniversary destination was Misty Mountain Lodge in Tsitsikamma, situated between Plettenberg Bay and Jefferys Bay. The resort is based on a cliff and overlooks the ocean with the most picture perfect scenes.

The afternoon of just being together -  laughing and sharing, the joys of no phones…being surrounded by peace and calmness and simply enjoying each other’s company was the perfect way to spend our anniversary.  We explored what the venue had to offer, followed by a relaxing bubble bath, building up to the delicious dinner shared over drinks and much happiness.  The staff of Misty Mountains was amazing, very welcoming and so efficient.

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Part 3 was only allowed to be opened on Monday morning, the day of our anniversary.  Justin wrote me a love letter, filling my hearth with warmth and my eyes with tears.  I am so fortunate to have the unconditional love from this man.  Every day that goes by, I count my blessing.  Along with my love letter was an “IOU” for the next time we are in Port Elizabeth to go pick out jewellery…a romantic weekend away with my amazing husband and jewellery…sorry ladies, he is all mine!  Can a girl get any luckier?

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Secret Santa and the joy of giving

Secret Santa is such a great game…I love how buying something for someone else is always such a  challenge, then throw in the obstacle of not knowing the person at all, and you are just completely baffled.

This year, in a quick conversation with Tandy, I asked about doing Secret Santa, the sad reality is that some people take part but don’t play the game right.  They are happy to receive gifts but never send gifts, this is not on.  Hence why Tandy was a little skeptical about doing it again…however, after short notice, it was all put together.

The best part about the whole Secret Santa things for me, the fact that I found new blogs that I would not normally have discovered!  I had to buy for a blogger who I didn’t even know existed, so an even bigger challenge, but having said that, I did get the opportunity to explore a lovely blog and get to know a new fellow blogger.

My gift I received was lovely.  Sometimes it blows my mind how us food people think…I had just posted off my gift when I received my Secret Santa and low and behold, we both had a spice mix in our little care package!

Other little things I received in my parcel…

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So I want to say a very big thank you to my Secret Santa, your parcel was lovely and will definitely be used well in my kitchen!

Welcome 2013…you are going to be a fantastic year

And so 2013 has arrived.   Christmas celebrations came and went, followed by the big decision as to what one should do for New Years, all through our busy little town the big discussions of where, what and how while buzzing around and getting in your last bit of 2012 before that first day of 2013’s hangover sets in and you spend your day lazing around.

Sitting now and watching the news, you really take in all that happened last night, from the tragedy of the fires in Cape Town, to the tradition of the Annual Malay Choir Parade being cancelled due to Mother Nature’s wrath.  All this makes you really think hard about your year that has passed, and your year ahead, waiting for you to embrace it all.

I had a wonderful 2012, I started the year by marrying my best friend, my soul mate and the one person who never judges my choices, who supports me and loves me unconditionally. Babe, you bring a smile not only to my face, but also to my heart…every day I fall in love with you more and more.

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Mid-way through the year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Food & Wine Bloggers Indaba in Cape Town, little did I know that this was the kick-start to so many new challenges, goals and dreams that will be accomplished in 2013, along with this, I spent the day with my wonderful friends, catching up, drinking wine and enjoying delicious food.  This needs to be done more often girls!

Along with these two events, so many other wonderful moments for 2012 spring to mind…

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Now all long 2012 was not always sunshine and roses, there were a few tears, a few days of feeling defeated…there were days of internal screaming and shouting in my own head, but with each one of these days, came the unconditional support and love from my wonderful family and friends, who makes even the darkest clouds have a silver lining.

I do not have any New Years resolutions…this explains it all…

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So…with this, farewell 2012, it has been great, thank you for not ending.   2013, the year of the snake, this year is the first year since 1987 to have all its digits being different numbers. I embrace you and cannot wait to experience all you have to offer.

Book Review – On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

So what is the story?  (Taken from http://www.goodreads.com)

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.


When I first looked at this book, I kind of put it one side, thought when I have nothing else to read, I will pick it up. I wish I never did that! I think I have only ever given one other book five stars, that being Water For Elephants by Sara Greun.

This story is broken down into 3 parts.

The first, you are introduced to Anna, and immediately you like her bubbly personality that hides her sadness, and then T.J is introduced and you have this feeling of sorrow for him, they meet at the airport where his parents have organised flights for them to join on a holiday in the Maldives, where she is spending her summer tutoring T.J.  I love her character, she is kind, caring, and genuine,  she has taken this job for a few different reason, thinking it will be a few weeks and she will be back to her normal life.  After weather conditions causes them to have a few hiccups in their travel plans, finally getting a seaplane to charter them, the pilot suffers from a heart attack, but what got me the most was Anna, and how that caring and genuine concern comes through in her character, she is concerned, she wants to help and most importantly she helps without thinking too much of herself. The plane crashes and proceeds to sink, Anna & T.J are the only survivors.  They have hopes of being found and for the first few days hang on to the possibility that the planes that fly overhead will see them.

Part Two of the story is the adjustment, the accepting that they now live on this island, how the two of them become bonded not only in tragedy but in the fact that neither of them would want to survive the island without the other.  Together they work on building proper shelter; they work out how to eat, gather water, keep hygienic and how to keep themselves occupied during the days.  Together they get through storms, through shark attacks and through T.J’s transition from being a 17 year old boy and becoming 20 year old man, and Anna growing older, being in her early 30ties, and how her dreams of having children and being married might never be a reality. The fear of T.J’s cancer coming back, the illness’s that are easily picked up on the island. The emotion from the two characters individually fascinates, but the emotions that the characters are when together are just electrifying.  As the days go on, Anna & T.J develop a connection that is so strong that saying they fall in love would not justify the true feelings.

Part Three, and if you don’t want the spoiler, you need to stop reading here!

One day a storm is brewing on the island, turns out a Tsunami hits the island, and Anna & T.J are finally rescued.  And now, for them to adjust back into a world that they were ripped from 4 years ago, so much changes in 4 years as they discover, Anna must deal with more sadness, T.J must deal with being a 20 year old “kid” again, together they have to adjust, wanting to help each other but Anna not wanting to hold T.J back and keep him from missing out on the life he should of been having and would still be having if they were never stranded on an island.  T.J doesn’t know how to be what is expected from him, and the journey of the two characters letting go and rediscovering their bond and now for their friends and family to adjust to who they are.

This to me is not a romance novel; it’s more a novel about change, the loss and sadness one can feel, isolation and survival, about finding out who you are when you are taken from a world you know, and finding that real human connection with someone.

Favorite flavor combinations & home made pizza

I think one of my all time favourite foods to create at home is a good home made pizza, and I know I have blogged about this before, but I think another home made pizza blog is definitely in order.

For the wedding, my lovely friends Liza & Gerrie gave a great present, a pizza board and cutter.  And let me tell you, this has made a few appearances at dinner time.  I think its just such a great way to not only whip up a quick pizza for us, but also for when entertaining!

These pizzas were kind of “what I have in my friend” type of pizzas.  Today on in the world of Twitter, the question was raised…what is your favourite flavour combinations, and it’s such a great question. These pizzas has so many great combinations…

Bacon, feta, mushrooms and spinach
Green fig, camembert & bacon
BBQ chicken, feta , peppadews & roasted peppers

Now the best part of pizza, and again the reason why I love it so much, is just the versatility of it, you can create so many different flavours, there is no right and wrong when it comes to pizza, from the toppings, to the sauce to the dough.

Why not add some excitement t your dough, maybe a little beer dough, or if you like to spice things up some garlic and red chilli flakes.  Another something and something I like is to add extra cheese to the dough, always brings that “double cheese” flavour though.

So now the question that @lusciousCT raised, what is your favourite flavour combination