2010 in Highlights

Now that we’re well and truly into 2011, and I still haven’t written down my goals for the year – I thought I’d  take a look at my highlights from last year. Sometimes its only when you look back (and use photos to prompt you), can you really see what you’ve done or accomplished.

2010 was a big year for me, for us. A year with a whole lot of change and new beginnings.

We started 2010 fresh off the shores of South East Asia. A three month trip around Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia… and Thailand again, we were tanned and relaxed and so excited to be back in our home country after 6 and a half years in cold London. Summer in South Africa welcomed us with open arms, and as Mr H went off to his brand new job, I sunned and hung out with friends… and erhm, searched for a new job.

In January, an old friend married her high-school sweetheart. A few months later she found out she was pregnant and gave birth to beautiful Emily a few weeks ago. No, it wasn’t a honeymoon baby. Yes, it was unplanned. The wedding, the biggest party ever, it included a dance off to “apple bottom jeans” and a drunk groom running through the vineyards. Awesome stuff.

In February, we moved to Green Point to start living the Cape Town high life. This was exciting because, although I’d claimed for many years to be ‘from Cape Town’, I’d never actually lived there. But now I did.

In March I started my new career in online Marketing. The rest of March, was not as much fun as I’d hoped. I turned 29, and unfortunately at exactly the same time my brother-in-law got married. In Australia. My husband was at the wedding and I wasn’t. Turning 29, was not fun. But awesome that they got married. Other highlights included meeting Mr and Mrs Dickinson at K day who’ve become fab friends and drinks at the One and Only, Cape Town. I felt posh, even though I’m not.

April had airplanes, twice. After vowing to not set foot in an airport for at least a year after arriving back in SA, we took two flights to Durban in April. I saw my std 4 “penpal” marry her british fiance at Hotel Izulu in Ballito. What a party! We were also fortunate to discover stunning Simbithi Eco Estate… and I can officially say I fell in love with the place. Our second trip up to Durbs (I’ve been twice now, I think I can call it that), was the start of our trip to Mozambique. Our first time travelling Africa as locals. We started in Ballito, headed up to Kosi Bay for a night and finally made our way over the border to Ponta Malongane Bay.  I roughed it in Thailand. I roughed it in Laos and Cambodia. But this… was something else. Besides the peeling paint and dodgy matresses, there was the (mild) panic attack 10m underwater in scuba and the 7km beach walk to and from Ponto do Oura… it was an ok break to an unknown spot. I preferred Ballito.

Ponta Malongane
The 7km walk
Ponta Malongane Beach
Fairly remote

In May, we found out Mrs M was expecting! Much excitement all round as the first of our close friends was going to be having a baby! Miss Moss (and not Kate) left to return to the UK after finally securing a visa. Much sadness all round. And so, I indulged in as much cake and coffee as I could at the Mount Nelson’s Afternoon Tea. Happiness again.

The Love Magic Tour at Madame Zingaras arrived in Cape Town in June, and Mark and I were there in front row seats . We had the much talked about chilli-chocolate steaks, we drank OB’s (my first time) and we marvelled at the incredible show. It was an unbelievable night out. We also had a spontaneous 2 day trip to Pretoria to see my sister, her husband and my (ever-growing) nieces. Woops, I almost forgot to add, World Cup Italy vs Paraguay game we watched. In the pouring rain.

In July we ate Oysters. And we drank champagne. And then we smuggled our own proper champagne in the next day. It was JC Le Roux – and don’t let me go on about my champagne affair again. I ran my first 5km road run – this sounds like an insignificant task, but actually forms part of my goals for 2011. I don’t run …. (insert adjective here: well/easily/fast/without looking like a toss). We experienced the fun of Bastille Day in Franschhoek and I also had my first abuse (my own fault) on twitter. We randomly ran into the Rolyats who we hadn’t seen since our early London days… and we haven’t managed to get rid of them since either! So glad to be drinking wine with these two again.

Oysters and Champagne in Knysna
Thats me, with my first oyster!
Champagne at Knysna Oyster Festival
Yay! Champagne!

August, and I wish I could that Winter was truly here. After spending many years craving sunshine, I was wondering when I’d see snow again… so we went looking for it instead. I battled to find a place in Ceres, and so found the next best thing in Tulbagh. We stayed at Buchanan’s Brook and had a long weekend of red wine and book reading (I was in month 8 of Shantaram). It was actually the perfect break. There was no snow though. We did have a lovely breakfast at the ‘Tolhuis’ on the way to Ceres that I can highly recommend.

Breakfast at Tolhuis in Ceres
Like the name says, Tolhuis in Ceres

By September, I had started to notice a trend. We were on our way to Franschhoek, which was fast becoming my new favourite place on earth, for the Franschhoek Uncorked festival. We booked the beautiful two bedroomed cottage at La Chataigne. A stunning spot hidden away behind orchards and next to a stream. Tastefully decorated, with giant sized beds (always important). We saw Sabrage at Haute Cabriere, had Reubens and Chocolate wine, I mean ‘The Chocolate Block’ at Boekenhoutskloof. We went to Dieu Donne, Rickety Bridge, Grand Provence Estate and I found my favourite winery, La Motte. I also found my favourite MCC at Graham Beck. We had an amazing lunch at Anthonij Rupert Wines @ L’Ormarins where I unfortunately also picked up a reputation for disliking their wine I discovered when we returned with friends in December. We finished off the whole Uncorked experience with pancakes at Plasir De Merle.

Wine tasting at La Motte
The restaurant at La Motte.. have to go back
Lunch at Anthonij Rupert
Getting a reputation at L’Ormarins

Hmm… September is proving to be a month of highlights, or did I just go on about wine a bit long there? Anyway, we also went back to Knysna and back to Phantom Forest where we honeymooned for a few days in December 2008. We had one of the most amazing meals of my life! This is one of those things I have to shout about. If you’re ever in Knysna, do yourself a favour and visit Phantom Forest. Stay over if you can, otherwise just have a meal at their Boma.

Another month, another wine festival. And this one I can safely say, the best yet! Wine on the River is closer to Bonnievale, and on the banks of the beautiful Breede River. Bigger than Bastille, but all in one place unlike Franschhoek Uncorked, we sipped new wines I’d never had before in the sunshine. Then we drank bottles of champagne, took a booze cruise, jumped on jumping castles and trampolines, had photos with clowns and ran around the vineyards! Fabulous weekend away. We stayed at Boesmansdrift which is honestly amazing. Its already booked for this year’s festival though – but if you’re planning a getaway with 8 people to Bonnievale (yes, I know how crazy that sounds) – you should book this place. We also ate at Jardine in October, but that wasn’t really a highlight.

Wine on the River weekend
All a girl needs - a top hat and a bottle of bubbly

November had a big walk. That’s about it. Wow… boring month.

December deserves special attention as it was maxed with fun and amazing things. Two years of marriage celebrated, our first Christmas in SA after many years, a baby shower, Lisa and Andrew’s wedding. Another trip to Franschhoek.

More about me

I’ve noticed that I’ve had a few click throughs from blogs where I have posted a comment. From an SEO perspective (yes, I do that for a living) this is great! Natural backlinks, social interaction blah blah. You got it. But what concerns me is if my blog is a true representation of me. I don’t think it really has grasped the concept. (To be fair, how could it?  I don’t think I’ve really grasped the concept of me yet. Its all in the name.. becoming mrs H )

So, without being entirely vain, I thought write a little bit more about me today.

I think first and foremost, it has to be said that I love the sunshine. I think this is what I love the most, which is a hard call to make given the other things I love in life. Second up, is probably champagne. The obsession with bubbles (and my personal liquid heaven) started on a visit to the Moet & Chandon Champagne Cellars in Epernay. My sister and I share our taste in quality champagne, and I consider myself lucky to have drank bottles of Bollinger, Lanson, Veuve Clicquot, Mumm and ofcourse, Moet & Chandon. (Thanks has to be given to my sister who sponsored most of the bottles). Back home its still my drink of choice, these days opting for Graham Beck if its available and Pierre Jourdan if its not. (Feel free to introduce me to new MCC’s you feel rival these!)

That could totally be me.. lying around sipping champagne! (I'd use a glass though)

I have a small obsession with luxury. I LUUUUURRVVVEE it! Lush, lush, lush! Give me cotton sheets, quality finishes, room servicing three times a day, turn downs with ferrero roche chocolates and a bedside bottle of water. Give me staff thats attentive but unobtrusive, gardens that are manicured and towels are that have been refolded every time I take a shower. Over the top, I don’t care. I love luxury hotels and resorts. Throw in a spa that have therapists who know what they’re doing, and I’m hooked.

I love to travel… and I love wine. I say these in virtually the same breath, as I especially like drinking wine while travelling. Italy, while for me doesn’t produce the best wines… it does offer some beautiful scenery to drink it in. I was fortunate to be grow up with a wine farm within 5km of my house, go to Stellenbosch University and now marry into a family with two wine-makers. We drink wine at every opportunity and I love hearing about new wines and trying them out. Spending an afternoon or weekend wine tasting is the best use of time!

Drinking wine in Italy
Me, enjoying a few glasses in Cinque Terre, Italy

I’ve been married for two years (celebrated that milestong in a lush hotel… obviously!) but I still love looking at wedding things. Photos, decor, dresses, flowers, colours, venues and churches. Weddings are the most beautiful thing ever. I love weddings.

I turn 30 in two months. As of right now, I’m not scared. I mean its there… its definitely looming in front of me. I’m definitely thinking about it. I’m just not scared of it. On the one hand, its just a number. On the other… OMG!! wasn’t I supposed to have had a career, have two kids and live in my house with a pool by now?!!!!

You see, totally easy to be scared of it. But I’m not. This isn’t one of those, “God and I have a deal” things… I just don’t feel 30. And anyway, apparently I look 23 (which is sometimes annoying) so I figure time is on my side.

So I live in a Green Point apartment (ok, its a flat but I prefer the word apartment). We do have a pool (shared between all 600 flats) and I have husband (not always the first step to the children part… but I’ll claim it). I work in Online Marketing for an agency that, well… for one of the ‘big players’ isn’t that well known in Cape Town. We do SEO. I manage some of the Accounts. Yes, that’d make me an account manager.

I love the online space, and I love marketing. After years of trying my hand at a couple of different roles (yes, that was me in the suit entering the glass doors of that Global Asset Management company), I really love the industry I’m in.

But what I really dream of, is indulging my big loves: sunshine, luxury, champagne, wine, travel and pretty weddings on a daily basis. I’m still working on a master plan to do this.