The Housewife Diaries

Anyone who follows me on twitter (and I have to assume anyone who reads my blog does, otherwise… how else are you here?) would know that I have recently taken to using the hashtag #housewifediaries. I toyed with the idea of the tag being #woeisme but in all honesty that is rather depressing, and my position actually isn’t all that bad.

You see about two (maybe three, it’s all a blur now) weeks ago I checked my Monday morning emails on my blackberry before both eyes were even open. Pretty standard practice. Alarm clock, emails, twitter. In that order. There was a meeting request that included HR, our CEO and our whole team. By the time I had arrived at work after gym (and after the rest of my team) panic was in the air with Vegas (our non-smoking developer) puffing at a cigarette and our sales manager having had about 6 cups of coffee (actually that’s not that odd, he did that often). After a meeting we knew that in a nutshell they were initialising the wind down of our business.

Panic. Alarm Bells. Hmm, neither really. Unquestionable thirst for Colmant MCC? Yes.

It’s a weird thing redundancy. You’re not too sure how to feel. Did you fail? Did the business fail you? Everyone does the sympathetic head tilt when asking how you are, and no one seems to want to accept the answer that you’re fine. Really, you’re fine. You’re being paid out for two months and it’s summer. Yes, you heard me. What’s not to be fine about?

Ok, so I don’t have a job but hey, ever heard of a sabbatical? And yes I know I had one of these extended breaks when I went travelling for 3 months around Asia but who ever made the rule that you’re only allowed one break per lifetime? Unfortunately I’m not off on a jet plane anywhere, so I guess you could call me a housewife.

I always thought the only time I’d actually be a housewife, was if I had a set of triplets  and I couldn’t find a nanny to help take care of them. But being a housewife, without a house to clean or without kids definitely isn’t as bad as it sounds. Granted it’s not a long-term plan,  although if I’m honest, I’m really getting used to it. As a housewife I finally get to do the things I was feeling too exhausted to do all year. Like try out Bikram yoga (ommm), write a blog post (or a few), read my book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) or maybe just lie at the pool. I go to gym, I go have coffee at the places I always drive past but never have time to pop in to. I even take my MAC along (to write my blog posts) and look like one of those über cool self-employed Capetonians (some may call them hipsters) I’ve always been secretly jealous of. Except I’m not self-employed and I don’t have a hat or wear scarves in summer. I’m just… well, a housewife and ok with that. Apparently I also go wine tasting after a breakfast in the burbs. Hey, all in a day.

So what now? And what’s next? I get these questions a lot and I don’t know the answers. Almost every day I have a meeting, and so far I have met awesome people. Discoverers, innovators, thought leaders and the odd recruitment agent too. I’m in a not so desperate position and that’s a great place to be when working out what your next career move is.

So for now I’m like a teacher on a paid holiday except I didn’t have to deal with children all year. It’s summer (well, it claims to be – Cape Town what is up with this weather?!) and it’s the festive season. I’m so happy (and fairly chilled… ommm) and have faith that everything really will work out for the best.

And so, the housewife diaries are born.

Not your ordinary housewife

Societi in the ‘burbs

Being unemployed, or a housewife as I like to call myself, has its benefits. Like yesterday for example. Yesterday I got to go along to the dry run of the brand spanking new Socieit Brasserie in Tokai. Yep, aaaalllll the way on the other side of … well far. I swear I went through three time zones to get there (and yes, I probably did make that joke yesterday too). Tokai is far. I know people live there, but those people also are used to driving more than 3km a day. I’m not one of those people.

But I got there. I didn’t even get lost (+1 for google maps). And I was warmly welcomed by Chris, Peter and Stefan.

In all fairness it was only about a week before yesterday, when I finally got myself a little more active on my trusty companion twitter, that I found out about the new addition to the Societi familia. Ah, so the burbs are getting their own Societi. I’m a housewife. I’m seeing good reason to look at Tokai to buy a house. Hmm.. not quite. Anyway, I digress. That’s a completely separate blog post.

Societi Brasserie can be found at Forest Glade House in Tokai Road. It’s a shopping centre with some really nice (read: out of my budget for now) shops, perhaps the Cape Quarter of the far south? As it was a dry run for brekkie,  I was expecting a very casual deli type of spot. Brasserie, Deli… sort of the same yes? Well, no. It may be shop #1 and all the way on the left, but Societi Brasserie is anything but a small tucked away Deli.

In actual fact, it’s fair to say I was so blown away with how different it looked to what I was expecting, that I actually thought Societi may have changed their tune a bit and that I was in a fine dining establishment. To which Peter (Weetman) quickly reassured me “We aren’t fine dining.” Great! Same relaxed atmosphere, great tasting food (with decent sized portions) just in something a little different. Well, besides the obvious of being in the burbs that is.

Using a combination of Peter’s and my own words here, let me explain. The building itself is deep so each shop is really long from front to back, thus its a lot bigger than you expect when you walk in. This particular spot used to be a Spar. Think about it. It’s easy to convert an old house in Orange street into a restaurant and give that character and warmth with all its existing nooks and crannies. But take an old grocery store and converting that may take a little bit of work.

Well, they did it marvellously. I know this should be about food, but I love great decor. These days I mentally decorate (and renovate) my imaginary house as I go and so, when I see it come together like it did at Societi Brasserie, I  wonder how I can steal the look for my own place one day. My definition is rustic chic (as opposed to shabby chic which every coffee shop is doing these days). Walls of facebrick, tables of either restored wood or converted wine barrels and beautifully upholstered mis-matched chairs. A stunning long, dark wood bar runs along the right which excites me because now a drink at the bar doesn’t mean smelling of smoke! (Yes I’m one of those). There’s also kitchen counter dining – watch the chef in action even closer than before and a courtyard for those warm summer nights (if the cloud ever lifts over Mordor?). There’s also a private dining room upstairs and by far the coolest doorstops outside the bathrooms. (I wish I had a pic – I want one!)

Ok, enough about decor. The food! Well look, when it comes to breakfast I always order one of two things. The healthy version or the Eggs Benedict. I’m a fussy eater with breakfast – I don’t really even like eggs and bacon as they are usually dripping with oil and weird flavours. My search for the perfect Eggs Benedict (the type where the hollandaise sauce is warm enough to not cool down the whole plate, where the english muffin is in fact that and not toast, and the poached eggs – well, we know how hard it is to achieve a perfect poached egg) has gone on for some time. I hate being disappointed after I order it and am always hesitant but catching a glance of Linda’s (from the Squashed Tomato) Eggs Benedict I probably didn’t need to even look at the menu.

But I did nevertheless which just made the decision that much harder. There is something for everyone (or for me, no matter my brekkie mood). From Toast basket (R28) and Bircher Muesli (R44) types through to all sorts of eggs done any way you can imagine and even steak, egg and chips (R89). Obviously the fact that I have never been disappointed at Societi, I trusted my instinct and went with the Eggs Benedict (R72). It’s hard to explain something so close to perfection (in my books) and I can’t really identify what nailed it (as my vocabulary with describing food is fairly limited to ‘amazing’ or… ‘not’). Perhaps it was the perfectly fluffy eggs, or the temperature of that Hollandaise sauce (you have no idea how I hate cold food). Perhaps it was the fact that there was nothing but amazing (there’s that word) flavours perfectly matched or that the serving was so generous (Societi never goes small).

The clear indication I need a better camera phone

The drive out to the burbs was worth it. While this Societi may look larger (and perhaps grander) than Societi in town, it exudes the same charm, that friendly chef (ermm… I mean service) and the same incredible food. The decor is tasteful and special (take a look at the gorgeous beaded lampshades above the bar) and there’s plenty to ooh and aah at. Chris mentioned that the restaurant had been full for dinner since it opened last Saturday and it doesn’t surprise me really. It’s the perfect mix of why people eat out. Without a doubt I’ll be back for breakfast in the courtyard (when summer chooses to arrive) and I’m already planning dinner. If only to have a drink at that incredible bar (oh and also to check out their wine list that never lets me down!)