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A Decadent Affair

15th December 2017 at 7:39 am

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Bill and I have been mooorse excited about all the upgrades taking place within Destination Irene of late. One of particular enticement is the Silver Rose Lobby Lounge at African Pride Irene Country Lodge. With a royal new reception area, this latest addition promises to be the epitome of elegance and so, I insisted that Bill accompany me to an afternoon of deliciousness coupled by sophisticated ambience and all round adulting in style!

Stepping into the Silver Rose Lobby Lounge can be compared to placing oneself into an upper class formal sitting room with beautiful wooden pieces of furniture complimented by the most appeasing fabrics. Unbelievably comfortable sofas and chairs adorn the room with an inviting fire place to one side and an impressive book shelf to the other.

Old photos scattered around the room of the farm that once was on this property, are a reminder of where it all started. The infusion of old to new makes up the character of this room – all of which epitomises African Pride Irene Country Lodge’s haven of peace and tranquillity.

Bill and I chose to sit in the centre from where we could take in all of its beauty whilst enjoying each other’s company.

A beautiful samovar adorning the serving table is host to a selection of Ronnefeldt teas. Hailing from the finest plantations in Sri Lanka, Darjeeling, Assam, Japan and China, extreme care is used in harvesting, processing, packaging and preparing these teas which is synonymous with Ronnefeldt’s traditional tea production. And the proof is in the taste – a perfect cup of tea in the perfect setting.

With a wide range of other beverages on offer, Bill and I decided to treat ourselves to something from the eats menu – we were so glad we did! The variety from savoury to sweet with little extras in-between such as designer sandwiches and a signature carrot cake make for a fabulous light meal. We decided to taste test Sélection Salée (luxurious savouries) as well as the Sélection Sucrée (sweet delicacies).  Made to order, both were equally tantalising and it certainly lived up to our expectations.

After browsing some of the books on the bookshelf we decided on one last cup of tea before heading back to the barn.

Our afternoon spent in the Silver Rose Lounge was one of complete decadence – I’m not convinced that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!

Til’Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

A Royal Reception

6th December 2017 at 8:41 am

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New Reception at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

News in the fields is that African Pride Irene Country Lodge is boasting a brand new reception area. Being the local celeb when it comes to everything Destination Irene, I decided it would be best for me to check out the refurb myself… so you could read all about it straight from the Dairy Cow’s mouth!

Well, impressive is an understatement! As I entered the mooovelous lodge doors, I was immediately drawn to the warm welcome, peaceful ambience and of course, the gorgeous décor. Not only has the reception area been converted into a more open plan layout, but it’s more functional and of course, as upmarket as ever!

Greeted by the friendly reception staff (as always), they were all smiles as I commented on this spectacular upgrade. Bursting with pride, they excitedly told me that they too love the revamp and look forward to further changes to other areas of African Pride Irene Country Lodge happening over the next few months. (Make sure you keep following my blogs to avoid FOMO). If this is only the start, then African Pride Irene Country Lodge has set the bar high!

Royal arrival 

This inviting reception had me intrigued and I soon found myself wondering around, looking at the finer details.

With a central fireplace making sure this room will be cosy no matter the weather, I was particularly drawn to a beautiful drawing of the ’Old Dairy Irene Estate’ by C Brotherton – a gentle reminder of where it all began.

As I sat down in one of the many amazingly comfy sofas adorning the room, the hostess eagerly handed me a welcome glass of cranberry juice. ‘’This juice has been very popular today,’’ she comment and I quickly understood why – it was delicious!

Whilst I relaxed there for the next half hour or so, I watched and listened as guests happily arrived and left. All were welcomed with the utmost professionalism, making each one feel as important as can be. If they were checking in, the porter was on hand to show them to their room and if they were checking out, one could see that they were leaving feeling relaxed and grateful to have stayed. All commented on how they would be back again – and I’m sure African Pride Irene Country Lodge would be only too happy to oblige.

I returned to the fields to update the herd – with pride I explained that not only is African Pride Irene Country Lodge a haven of peace and tranquility but its fit for royalty too.

A royal reception which is only the beginning of the fabulous experience guests enjoy when arriving at African Pride Irene Country Lodge… making Destination Irene all the more inviting.

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Willow Feather Farm – “Passionate growers of indigenous trees”

22nd November 2017 at 5:03 pm

Farmyard Fun

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Bill went away on business over the weekend – a farmer from the Free State wanted to pick his brain on our excellent farming standards. So I was left to tend to our little herd. Every now and then the calves like to venture outside of our pastures and I have to come up with exciting things to do. I relied on Destination Irene (yet again) to ensure we had some fun…

We headed for Willlow Feather Farm.

Just a hop, skip and a jump over the R21 Highway (well the rabbits tell me it’s that easy!), we wondered into a serene setting. Gorgeous gardens with hidden wooden jungle gyms around just about every corner, I was able to relax under the trees whilst the calves entertained themselves.

I ordered a much deserved cappuccino and scones, freshly baked. The calves enjoyed Slowjo smoothies which I secretly taste tested and I have to admit, they were super yummy. Then, whilst they explored the gardens and farmyard animals, I enjoyed reading the history behind this unique spot…

A family farm since 1979, it was the perfect haven for Janet and Steven Geyer to raise their three children. Farm life was good (as Bill and I can attest to) and soon one of the children, Barry, began his own company producing amazing fresh chickens. Then one day, after picking up some seeds from an old tree, planting them and seeing how quickly they grew, Barry changed his business focus and Willow Feather Farm was born.

In just a few short years, indigenous trees have become their forte with over 500 000 trees on the farm all planted from seeds or seedlings. They are so passionate about being environmentally conscious that there is a small conservation fee when entering the tea garden.

Lucky for us, the family thought that recreating their experiences as children of farm life would be great. The public are able to visit, interact with farm animals and enjoy a safe place for the calves to run and play.

Once you’ve visited, it’s not hard to see that this family is all about greening the environment, one tree at a time…

After a blissful hour of reading, enjoying the beautiful weather and sipping on my cappuccino, I think I dosed off for a while!

But it wasn’t long before my calves were tugging at my hooves, wanting to feed the farmyard animals with me. Our friendly waitress supplied us with feed for the chickens, goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits and geese. We then spent the next hour laughing and taking pictures of photo bombing geese and alpacas!

By the time we returned to our own barn I was feeling relaxed and the calves were in bed early, thank goodness. My day out was made a whole lot easier thanks to Willow Feather Farm. They will definitely be seeing us again…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Off to the market!

15th November 2017 at 7:31 am

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Whilst I love the warmer weather, I don’t always appreciate the very early mornings it brings! My barn is abuzz with happy calves at what feels like sunrise – leaving Bill and I not quite ready for a full day ahead! However, we do appreciate the serenity farm life affords us – birds chirping at the crack of dawn, herds grazing in the lush green fields and the buzz of activity as our renovations are quickly taking shape. Not to mention the many places to visit and things to do that living in Destination Irene offers us…

Just last Saturday morning we decided to herd off to the Irene Village Market at the Big Red Barn for our dose of creative inspiration and some good ‘street food’ of course!

On arrival (which was fairly early as the calves had been up for hours already!) the market was already bustling with visitors from near and far. First stop for Bill and I was the coffee vendor – with a hot cappuccino in hand, we were ready to explore the original wares that this arts and crafts market has to offer.

Trading since 1989, I wasn’t disappointed with the variety, originality and high quality goods for sale. From beautifully made clothing to exquisite jewellery and handbags, Irene Village Market is a must for the ladies. Wooden toys, wire cars and swings meant that the calves were intrigued too – not to mention all the extras that were added to their Christmas wish lists once we returned to the barn.

For Bill, whose most often the hardest to please, the wood cutting gadgets, fabulous paintings and craft beer kits were enough to keep him happily wondering around.

As I find at most markets, the vendor folks were all very friendly. Chatting away about their products, greeting regular visitors and helping each other out at their stalls, it’s a welcoming atmosphere adding to the enjoyment of the visit. Being a dog friendly market, it was wonderful to see four-legged friends being a part of the morning with one stall even offering a doggie drinking station!

Once done browsing, we herded over to the food section which too did not disappoint. From a selection of various culinary offerings, not only did we thoroughly enjoy our brunch but we happily sat around on the wooden benches and listed to the local musicians playing their favourite tunes.

All-in-all, our family morning out was well enjoyed and one we plan to do again soon. (Well, I’ll have to head back next week to do some Christmas shopping for the kids!).

Chatting to Bill on the way home, we both agreed that having such a fabulous market on our doorstep is something many of us locals under-appreciate. Much like living at the sea and never really going down to the beach, we don’t visit this local icon often enough.

I’ve liked their Facebook page and will certainly diarise their 2018 dates once available – making it a new year’s resolution to enjoy a visit to Irene Village Market more regularly…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow.

Magic mani’s and perfect pedi’s at Camdeboo Day Spa

9th November 2017 at 7:42 am

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Warmer weather resonates with flip flops, open toed high heels and when visiting African Pride Irene Country Lodge, kicking off your shoes to walk in their lush green grass by the lake!

As most ladies do, I love having well-groomed hooves and hands so when summer rolls around, I waste no time ensuring my Camdeboo Day Spa date is set.

Time spent at Camdeboo Day Spa should always be a treat worth sharing and when I decided to book my monthly pamper for the warmer weather, I decided to ask Mooira to join me. Of course, she was only too pleased to come along and together we arrived for what would be a fabulous besties catch up.

Greeted by the friendly staff, we enjoyed a home-made iced tea whilst our therapist presented us with an array of colours to choose from for our mani and pedi bookings. Deciding that the more neutral and dark colours are better suited to the winter months, Mooira opted for a lovely pastel purple whilst I went for my favourite – turquoise.

After being taken through to a double treatment room, we then spent the next two hours catching up on the most recent events in our lives. All the while our lovely therapists scrubbed, rubbed, pampered and prettied our hooves and hands. Afterwards, with our beautiful new nails, we headed over to the garden to enjoy lunch under the trees.

Presented with delicious lunch options such as open sandwiches and scrumptious salads, Mooira and I enjoyed a cocktail before tucking into our beautifully presented meals.

Even though we had chatted all the way through our treatments, the chin wagging continued well into the afternoon as we exchanged stories of our calves and bulls. Mooira commented on how relaxing the setting was and how she would definitely be returning.

Thank goodness, we had arranged for the calves to be taken care of for the afternoon as our day spent enjoying the peace and serenity Camdeboo Day Spa exudes meant that we were completely unaware of the time.

A few cappuccinos and lots of laughter later, this was one of my most favourite get-togethers with my bestie yet!

I made sure my next mani and pedi appointment was booked before leaving, and Mooira did the same. I’m looking forward to showing off my well treated nails as the weather continues to warms up and I’ll be sure to pick an even brighter colour in preparation for our annual beach holiday.

Not only did I get prettied up on my visit to Camdeboo Day Spa but I got to spend it catching up with my bestie, Mooira – now that’s priceless!

Be sure to book your little R & R for our hooves and hands at Camdeboo Day Spa whether it’s on your own or with a friend – because everyone’s nails should be enjoying summer as much as ours are!

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

And… relax… at Camdeboo Day Spa

19th October 2017 at 7:12 am

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From an outsider’s point of view, living on the farm looks like the ultimate way of life. Little does one realise that the ‘behind the scenes’ effort that goes into creating this idyllic setting can get very hectic at times! Farmer van der Byl understands the stress of a dairy cow’s life – making sure our milk is nothing short of mooolicious and nutritious! Lucky for us, we have the Camdeboo Day Spa on our doorstep any time we feel the need to escape the world as we know it…

Last week I decided that Bill and I needed some ‘down time’ from our everyday routine. With the permission from our head of the herd, we took the morning off and strolled across the road to enjoy all that Camdeboo Day Spa has to offer.

Stepping into the beautifully decorated setting, I immediately felt a sense of relaxation. Friendly therapists were there to greet us and show us around the facilities. I was impressed to see the trophies and certificates adorning the walls amongst which were for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World Luxury Spa Awards – Best Luxury Day Spa Continent Winner, as well as the Spalicious Professionalism award for 2016.

Our booking was for an Indigenous Massage but we were also able to use the Spa facilities for the morning which added all the more to our relaxing experience.

A sauna, steam room, outdoor swimming pool, heated Jacuzzi and my favourite, sensation showers meant that by the time we ventured on back to the farm, we felt like we didn’t have a care in the world! (One or two brave souls were utilising the techno gym area – I take my hat off to those that find exercise relaxing!)

Time for our Indigenous Massage and we couldn’t have picked a better treatment to have. Soothing coconut oil combined with hot stones and of course, the very talented therapists – I think I might have caught myself snoozing once or twice during the hour! Bill and I both agreed that the therapists must get the best training on the market (not surprising at all), because they both were excellent in ensuring our treatment was moootacular.

Afterwards, my therapist kindly showed me some amooozing products that she thought would work wonders on the knots in my shoulders and she was right! The Camdeboo Day Spa also has its own range of scrub, body wash, body butter as well as a hand and nail cream, aptly named, Milk. With these products in tow, I’m going to feel like I’m visiting the spa every day in my own home.

After a refreshing shower, we sat down at the lovely café for a home-made ice tea and a bite to eat.

Back at the barn, my eldest calf was curious to hear all about our experience. She has just two years to go until she can join us at Camdeboo Day Spa for spoils of her own and she can’t wait…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Oh what a night at the Meadow Green Restaurant!

12th October 2017 at 7:36 am

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My subtle hints about a loved up month worked and boy was I spoilt on the first weekend of many this February!

Bill, my one and only, arranged to have mooother-in-law watch the kids and booked us a fabulous Saturday Night Live evening at African Pride Irene Country Lodge’s Meadow Green Restaurant.

Swaying into the Oak Bar, hoof in hoof, Bill and I started the evening with a pleasant, quiet drink. Sinking into the comfy sofas, (I nearly fell asleep before dinner!) Bill munched on some snacks and caught up on the latest sporting results. I was so relaxed I forgot to moan at him for watching sport on our night out!

Then we went through to the restaurant for a very special dinner – it was mooovelous to say the least. Why we don’t do this more often is unknown to me as Bill will tell you that just this one romantic night out scored him major brownie points for Valentines!

Picturing it doesn’t do this 5 course meal justice. I’ll try my best to describe how my taste buds were dancing in my mouth:

Firstly, my choice of corn chowder soup to start was spot on. Not only was it absolutely delicious but the presentation was outstanding. Bill went for the Thai butternut soup which was equally as good and we both devoured the bread served with an eggplant spread (amongst others) to die for!

Starters called for the ceasar salad – parmesan, grilled chicken, lettuce and a classic dressing – just a few of my favourite things! Bill’s beef carpaccio must have been good as I think it only lasted about half a minute on his plate!

Our very courteous waiter kept topping up our wine glasses and the live background music of the most enjoyable piano playing set the tone for our date… an unforgettable one at that.

Lime and coconut sorbet served in a shooter glass did the trick to cleanse the palate and just a few minutes later I was ogling a seafood dish that was supreme. Seared salmon, prawns and mussels with basmati rice and thermidor sauce – need I say more? Those prawns were mouth-watering and the salmon seared to perfection. Bill succumbed to a deboned oxtail with grilled polenta and braised summer vegetables which, should he have been allowed to, I’m sure he would have tried to take the pot of it back to the barn!

I had to request that our desert be served sometime after our main course as I wasn’t sure I would be able to fit much more in! But my taste buds won the war and boy, am I glad they did! A blue berry compote was the ideal treat to end a fabulous evening and Bill’s choice of a cheese board with local cheeses and preserves was marvellous too.

The ease of our evening was evident thanks to the fact that the service was flawless. A true romantic treat and although I give Bill all the credit for starting our month of love in style, I have to say that Saturday Night Live made it perfect…

Till Next Week
The Dairy Cow

Pre-wedding PARTY at The Barn Restaurant

5th October 2017 at 2:10 pm

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Since as long as can be remembered, one of the most exciting events leading up to the BIG DAY is the ever popular Kitchen Tea. As with most things in modern times, the traditional Kitchen Tea of presenting the bride an item for her kitchen within which she is expected to cook many happy meals for her groom has long changed. Today’s Kitchen Tea celebrations are far more sophisticated (and sometimes naughty!).

Celebrations at Irene Farm are always a joyous occasion and so the impending nuptials of Pertunia to Hank have many tongues wagging in the fields. With what is said to be the biggest celebration of the year, donned with all the bells and whistles, we are all very excited to attend. And I’ll certainly report back to my followers after the fact – no need for FOMO friends!

Mooria was tasked with the exciting job of arranging Pertunia’s Kitchen Tea (to be a surprise, of course) and the first thing she did was head over to the lovely functions planning lady at Irene Farm. Together they discussed the various options and settled on an outdoor booking at The Barn Restaurant where the ladies can chat away for the afternoon.

The menu choices were a little more daunting as everything looked so delicious. After much deliberation, Mooria settled on the tea and cake menu with savoury sandwiches, a baked cheesecake and a decadent chocolate fudge cake. Naturally, famous Irene Farm scones were on the table too with delicious jams and the ever popular double thick Irene Farm cream.

We were all asked to arrive a half hour early, where we were met by the lovely staff who ushered us to our booked tables all beautifully laid for an afternoon of high tea. As a gift to the bride-to-be, Mooria suggested a recipe from each of the guests with the ingredients so that Pertunia could build up her recipe collection and practice before becoming Hank’s barnwife. Not too far off from a traditional gift but with its own personal twist. The younger crowd obliged but I did hear rumours of a more raucous party planned for the evening for which the local night clubs would be their destination. Us ‘older’ mooo’s were more than happy with our sophisticated Kitchen Tea option.

Pertunia arrived on time, screeching with delight and joy at the surprise of her much deserved celebration. Once seated and armed with a cake fork, she politely dished a slice for everyone. Many teas and cappuccinos later, after much laughter, stories and blessing wishes, Pertunia headed back to her barn with bags of ingredients and age old recipes that will surely keep Hank a well-fed bull.

Thanks to The Barn Restaurant, our Kitchen Tea celebration was one for the memory books. I’m guessing we might be hosting a Stork Tea there in the not too distant future! Honeymoon babies are always a welcome surprise…

Till next week,
The Dairy Cow

Pretty pottery at The Clay Cafe

27th September 2017 at 11:42 am

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With spring upon us and the promise of a wonderful summer ahead, Bill has suddenly decided that he needs to get back into shape! One of his favourite local places to go is The Big Red Barn, an outdoor activity venue that offers something for every member of the family.

Determined to make his spring resolution a family affair, we herded off down Main Road on Sunday morning. On arrival at The Big Red Barn, the first few minutes were spent debating our choices. Bill opted for a trail run to kick start his efforts so the calves and I decided to check out the Clay Café.

Living in an arty community like Destination Irene, we were pleased to find a spot where we could get a little creativity of our own done. Situated between the trees in a barn-like setting, we sat down to enjoy what promised to be a relaxed morning.

After ordering a coffee and then wondering around the already painted creations waiting to be collected for some potential inspiration, we couldn’t wait to get started.

Our friendly waitress took us over to an array of clay choices in all shapes and sizes for us to pick what we would like to paint. From character creations (my youngest calf chose Batman) to painting your own mug or a tea pot, and everything in-between, we made our selections and began our artwork.

A wide range of paint colours, stencils, stamps and stickers cluttered our table as our creative juices freely flowed. Batman was painted all sorts of colours, made beautiful with many dots and even now sports a heart tattoo on his back! My Africa stencilled plate came out so pretty that I might just send it off to my family in Australia.

After a couple of hours our pottery was looking as gorgeous as we envisaged it to be. I was delighted to see a number of young families and friends arriving eager to put their own creations to work – all of which were fabulous.

Once done, our artworks were taken away to be completed in the kiln. They’ll contact us once it’s ready for collection and then we will proudly display them in the barn.

We finished up just as Bill completed his run. Once he’d had a drink and a hearty breakfast to replenish his energy levels, we herded home happy that we had all gotten to enjoy our morning – although in different ways.

I envisage my barn is going to be adorned with pretty personalised pottery in the near future. (I’ve already booked a ladies paint night for our ‘Girl’s night out’ group!). Now to decide what I’m going to paint next…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Drinks at The Lakeside Bar at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

20th September 2017 at 2:39 pm

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Ladies day out

Our ladies get-togethers usually entail the trusty coffee club meeting at The Deck Restaurant but since our favourite cappuccinos are on hold for a bit whilst it receives a wonderful makeover, we decided to change things up and so we embarked on a ladies night out!

All beautied up and with our favourite earrings on, Mooria, Pertunia and I went online in search of options. Being the more mature kind since we all have calves and bulls at home, we decided that the younger options of clubs and pubs weren’t really our scene, however African Pride Irene Country Lodge’s Lakeside Bar seemed to be the ideal spot and so we herded off there for our much anticipated day out.

As we entered the Lakeside Bar the relaxed, festive atmosphere was immediately apparent with couples, groups of friends and families chattering away, enjoying a drink together.

Seating ourselves, we decided to start our day with a house cocktail – the Ridgeback. True to our waiter’s word, this was a most refreshing drink and it was well enjoyed by all three of us. Careful not to drink on an empty stomach, we decided to order a snack platter (which was more like dinner) with loads of biltong, chips, fruit and nuts. Munching away and sipping on our cocktails, we ladies enjoyed the next few hours of catching up…

Teenage calves and grumpy bulls were the main points of conversation as we had a few good stories, laughs and the odd serious point of view. What is said at the Lakeside Bar, stays in the Lakeside Bar!

Moving on to wine and ciders, Mooria commented on the wonderful décor that makes this place welcoming.  With the amazing lake views and different types of bird life, it felt like we were in the countryside.

Pertunia was more impressed with the friendliness and service of the staff. Welcoming smiles and great suggestions on drinks and the platter meant that our day was a breeze – even without our bulls around to take care of us.

After a couple of hours of having a good old natter, we decided it was probably a good time to return to our barns.

As much as we love our coffee club dates, I think we are going to throw in another ladies day out or two every now and then – the Lakeside Bar being the perfect spot. In fact, I think I should tell Bill that it’s a great spot for the bulls to get together too…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Delectable Dinner at the Meadow Green Restaurant

13th September 2017 at 10:15 am

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Sometimes my barnwife duties extend a little beyond just raising our calves and making delicious milk for the farm. As Bill’s better half I’m pleased to say that every now and then he ropes me into ensuring his business associates and their wives experience the best that Destination Irene has to offer – and I’m always happy to oblige.

One such occasion was just last week, when Bill arranged a men’s golf day (which always includes a few hours at the 19th hole) and so he tasked me with ensuring the ladies were spoilt to a fine dining meal.

Of course, the Meadow Green Restaurant at African Pride Irene Country Lodge was the only option and I promptly booked a table for five. Out of town guests are always impressed with the menu choice and gorgeous ambiance of the Meadow Green Restaurant. I met the ladies on their arrival and we sat down to a gorgeously laid table ready for a dinner of note…

True to their word, the chefs and their team offer delectable meals made with locally sourced fresh ingredients which make every plate amazing. From a starter choice of fresh salads including pumpkin, modern Caesar and camembert (cranberry filled with pickled red onion and cranberry vinaigrette), to seafood options and soup of the day, my guests were excited to order their favourites and I knew the evening would only get better from there.

On request, two of the ladies were given a tour of the vinoteque walk-in chilled wine cellar returning to the table with a couple of bottles to get the evening started. Nothing like a good glass or two to break the ice and get the conversations flowing.

Highly recommend by our friendly waiter, most of us opted for the Rib Eye Steak when it came time to ordering mains. With an on-site meat aging fridge, the chefs can offer premium matured meats grilled to perfection. Accompanied with choices of pap and sauce, hand cut chips, basmati rice or crushed rustic potatoes and baby vegetables, we were all eagerly awaiting this delicious choice.

For those who preferred other options, the menu included choices of basil penne, mushroom risotto, lamb neck, chicken supreme and kingklip – all promising to be excellent. When the mains arrived, they lived up to their expectations and I’m pleased to say that only good words of praise were said around the table.

To finish off our evening, as us ladies never skip a dessert opportunity and when presented with the options, the waistlines were long forgotten! Chocolate flower pots, fruit salads in brandy snap baskets and my personal favourite, Lindor fondant with macadamia nougat ice cream, were soon adorning our table. Needless to say, every last bite was eaten and well enjoyed!

Till Next Week
The Dairy Cow

Smunchday Sunday at the Irene Farm!

7th September 2017 at 11:00 am

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Fewer things make a Mooommy Cow happier than a good old lie-in on a Sunday morning and a scrumptious breakfast to boot. Alas, my calves are still too young to make me breakfast in bed!

With Bill being away so often lately – important farmyard upgrades to attend to – I have been left with all the cooking duties. Cooking and me are only friends for a limited number of days so when my beauty sleep got rudely interrupted by a nagging 5 year old who was STARVING last Sunday morning, I decided a trip to Irene Farm was desperately needed…

Luckily The Barn Restaurant wasn’t fully booked, as they usually are, and so my brood and I happily sat down to a table in the shade. Well, the next few hours were the best I’d had all week!

Firstly, the Sunday morning Chef’s Hot Table spread is mooolicious to say the least. If your ultimate weekend breakfast starts with fresh toast, smoked country style bacon, egg (scrambled or fried), local beef boerewors braised in spicy chakalaka sauce, oven baked mushrooms, tomatoes and spicy potato hash or ground millie pap, then no need to dine anywhere else!

Secondly, after enjoying my breakfast in peace whilst the calves were off gallivanting on the farm, I ordered a well-deserved cappuccino. Rich roasted coffee with delicious foam (or a decadent dollop of Irene Farm double thick cream) is the BEST accompaniment to such a fabulous breakfast.

Thirdly, I took a few moments to relish in the fact that whilst I was enjoying my own company, although I would have preferred my better half there, and the calves were as happy as pigs in the pigsty! Jungle gyms, tractors, walks around the farm and the various farm animals to see make for much entertainment.

Sipping on my coffee, I was pleased to see all the happy families around me enjoying it just as much as we were. Parents being able to have a conversation as their calves were busy playing, grandparents catching up and friends discussing travel plans at the table next to ours. The Chef’s Hot Table certainly caters to all their guests.

I finally decided to herd the calves back to the table (the 5 year old had long forgotten just how starving he was when we arrived!) for their turn to eat. A glass of milk and fresh fruit juices were enjoyed by all. My calves thought the best part of their morning was that delicious scones and flapjacks were included in the Chef’s Hot Table spread – which meant that they had more than their fair share of dessert for breakfast!

With full bellies, happy faces and dirty feet, we herded on home just before the lunch time crowd arrived. And our lazy Sunday continued… The best part was, I didn’t have to cook another meal that day! Snacks were more than sufficient as the Chef’s Hot Table had done its job!

I predict a few more Smunchday Sundays in the near future… we’ll have to include Bill next time!

Till Next Week
The Dairy Cow

A Beautiful Round of Golf at Irene Country Club

24th August 2017 at 2:50 pm

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Bill’s ultimate day out is a walk around the golf course (as it is for many men!). His regular rounds of golf often lead to big business ideas and great networking, so when I politely hinted at the possibility of him reducing his number of games in a month, I got a very negative response!

As it happens just last week the calves were out and about with their friends and Bill, much to my surprise, invited me to tag along to Irene Country Club. He felt that if I experienced the game for myself, I might take his view on it a little more seriously. My golfing knowledge is pretty limited but Bill insisted that we could use it as time well spent together – “A couple who walks together (in this case around an 18-hole golf course!), stays together!” was his reasoning.

Sporting my newest pair of takkies and making sure my pedometer was set, Bill and I headed over to Irene Country Club for an afternoon of golf. I remembered seeing the club advertised in the latest issue of Destination Irene, so quickly brushed up on my knowledge of it on our way over.

Impressive is an understatement! Not only on arrival did I notice the old world charm that this country club exudes but the hustle and bustle of all the sport taking place was phenomenal! I’ve travelled up and down Nellmapius Drive often enough to know the course holes adjacent to the road are always occupied but never did I imagine just how busy Irene Country Club is! Cricket, bowls, tennis and squash are great additions to this beautiful golf course and driving range. All teaming with players, young and old, enjoying these first-class facilities.

As Bill and I joined his four ball I soon realised that I was going to enjoy this far more than expected. Peaceful, serene, gorgeous and green are some of the adjectives that come to mind when describing my walk around this course. Bill’s interpretation is slightly different – challenging, tricky, competitive and sometimes frustrating if you aren’t hitting the ball straight! We agreed on one aspect, this course is in pristine condition and it quite possibly is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the city.

The four ball chatter mostly consisted of pars, birdies and even an eagle, all of which made the men very excited. I simply enjoyed the surrounds and time spent watching my Bill do what he enjoys most. Although the odd Kiviet guarding its nest kept me on guard and sometimes deviating through the thick to avoid being pecked, my perception of golf has changed somewhat.

Clocking in at just over 12 000 steps for the day (walking around a golf course is no mean feat), we checked into the 19th hole. Our day ended on a happy hour note and by the time Bill and I returned to the barn, our herd was patiently awaiting our return.

Needless to say, I’ve told Bill I’ll be his caddy for his next round of golf at Irene Country Club! And he is very pleased…

Till Next Week

What a wonderfully relaxing date at Camdeboo Day Spa!

18th August 2017 at 11:42 am

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As most couples do, Bill and I like to arrange a special evening to ourselves once in a while. One where the hustle and bustle of farm life can be forgotten and we can just focus on each other.

Our date nights range from delicious meals out to ordering room service and spending the night in luxury but every now and then we like to have a real relaxation treat! This month was one such occasion so we decided to book the Date Night at Camdeboo Day Spa – the ultimate spoil.

After a rather hectic day out in the fields, we herded over to African Pride Irene Country Lodge where we were welcomed by the most helpful staff. As we entered the Camdeboo Day Spa gate a feeling of utter peace was evident in the most beautiful of settings.

A beaming receptionist offered us welcome drinks, showed us around the spa and then gave us a few minutes to change into our gowns and slippers. Once back at reception, our therapists took us through to a couple’s treatment room where our Twice as Massage treatment for two was the Date Night ultimate treat.

I had heard word in the fields that the Camdeboo Day Spa therapists are nothing short of spectacular, regularly attending workshops to keep updated on the latest therapy trends. Well, this experience was phenomenal!

Being a stressed out dairy cow is no joke! As I tackle each day trying to balance work, calves and family life my body (especially my back) aches as I climb into bed each night. The therapist took her time to ensure that every single knot in my shoulders was painlessly worked away whilst always ensuring that I was as comfortable as could be. After an hour of this wonderful massage, Bill and I both felt completely rejuvenated – a relaxing date night accomplished!

Once done, our therapists gave us a few minutes to change back into our gowns. Thank goodness as I think both Bill and I had dosed off for a bit and needed the time to wake up again!

To finish off our evening, we enjoyed a delicious snack platter with a bottle of bubbly on the restaurant patio. With the quietness of the evening surrounding us, Bill and I were able to catch up on adult conversation without the calves around to interrupt us.

We returned to the barn feeling udderly lazy! Thank goodness mooother-in-law had the calves for the night so Bill and I were able to enjoy an uninterrupted good night’s rest… just what the Farmer ordered!

I love relaxing date nights and this one was by far my favourite – Camdeboo Day Spa will be seeing us again, very soon.

Till Next Week

The Dairy Cow

Sundays are the BEST at The Barn Restaurant!

11th August 2017 at 9:04 am

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Sundays are THE BEST!

Let’s be fair – it’s everyone’s favourite day of the week. Sundays were made for family, relaxation and mooost importantly… Sunday lunches!

Typically, Sundays are spent with me slaving away in the kitchen amongst bales of hay accompanied by various herbs and spices picked from our farmyard vegie garden, whilst the rest of the herd put their hooves up on the veranda and enjoy the view! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook up a storm for my loved ones but every now and then I feel the urge to throw my tea towel at them – which more often than not results in me getting a Sunday off (too!). Mooosion accomplished!

Bill knows what THAT means and he expertly arranges my favourite Sunday lunch spot every time. Irene Farm’s – The Barn Restaurant – naturally!

A few weeks ago, I had one of ‘those’ moments and sure enough, the very next day Sunday Lunch was booked.

With three very excited calves (they love a good day out on the farm), we arrived to a bustling restaurant vibe filled with laughter and chatter from all the patrons doing exactly what we were there to do, enjoy our Sunday lunch…

Within minutes the calves were gone, but not before asking our friendly waitress for delicious farm milkshakes to quench their thirst. Bill and I settled down with a crisp bottle of white wine, of course, and so our moootacular Sunday afternoon began.

With the mooouth watering aromas of home cooked food surrounding us, I didn’t wait long to check out the buffet before returning to our table with my first course. Freshly made salads that looked like the ingredients had just been hand-picked from the field, were a great start. Whilst sipping on my wine and watching the calves climbing the jungle gym, Bill and I took a moment to enjoy grazing at the same time! Usually one of us is trying to entice the youngest calf to eat whilst the other finishes up so that they can take over – a practice I believe is common in most households!

Back to the buffet for mains, this time with the calves in tow, and our eyes grew wide with the selection before us. Roast beef and gravy, seafood potjie, a great selection of vegies and loads more, what a treat. With our plates filled to the brim and our eyes probably bigger than our stomachs, we enjoyed our hearty Sunday Lunch meal around the table chattering about the school week ahead and projects that Bill has on the go.

Before we knew it the calves were off again, this time to look at the swans on the lake I believe, which left Bill and I with alone time to chat about more serious matters (such as the current renovation of the Irene Farm Shop and The Deck Restaurant). I’m pleased to say that the upgrade will make Destination Irene even more enticing…

Not ones to skip dessert, and once our tummies had settled, we headed back to the buffet table for the most delicious treats. The calves had already been eyeing out the dessert spread before the mains so they had their minds set. With choices from divine malva pudding to cheesecake and fruit flan, let’s just say that we rolled on back to the barn!

For a family fun Sunday Lunch that can’t be beat, book your spot asap (a little tea towel tantrum might speed things along too!)…

Till Next Week

The Dairy Cow

Woman’s Day: You deserve a Ladies Day Off at Camdeboo Day Spa

8th August 2017 at 4:50 pm

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You deserve a Ladies Day Off!

With the calves back at school and spring just around the corner, Pertunia, Mooria and I decided that a little Women’s Day treat was needed! After dropping our respective herds off for the morning and making sure the bulls were busy in the fields, we snuck off to our favourite relaxation spot – Camdeboo Day Spa.

Pertunia had heard about the Ladies Day Off package from fellow cows in the fields (some of them have booked it for kitchen teas and stork parties) and so we decided it would be appropriate for Women’s Day month. The package caters for each lady’s individual preference with a variety of treatments to choose from so all of us were guaranteed to get the relaxation we were looking forward to.

Camdeboo Day Spa Experience

After a warm welcoming and the offer of refreshments, our therapists whisked us off to our beautiful treatment rooms. Pertunia opted for a Milk Moisture hand ritual which she absolutely loved – so much so that she went home with a tube of Milk Moisture Hand Cream.

Mooria chose the Soothing scalp and face massage – she raved about it afterwards, saying it was her first massage of that kind and she will definitely be booking it again.

I decided to go with my all-time favourite, the Tech Neck massage and as per every visit to Camdeboo Day Spa, it was fabulous! I too went home with a spoil, a bottle of Lilian Terry International Back Formula Massage Oil which my therapist said I only need to apply to my back without massaging it in (but I’m not telling Bill that!).

Destination of Ultimate Relaxation

Feeling totally relaxed (in fact, I’m sure I fell asleep at one point!), the three of us then met on the patio for a light lunch, which was included in our package. Soaking up the winter sun, in the most peaceful setting, we caught up on all the back to school gossip. A range of teas, pastries and fruit were the perfect ending to our scrumptious lunch – we felt thoroughly spoilt.

Before we knew it, our morning was done and it was time to head back to the barn – but not without promising each other that we would be doing this more often…

True to their reputation, the therapists and staff at Camdeboo Day Spa knew just how to ensure we left feeling relaxed and rejuvenation.

Trust me, a Ladies Day Off is just what every woman needs!

Till Next Week

The Dairy Cow

 

A mooolicious menu

7th July 2017 at 12:52 pm

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A mooolicious menu

Bill is about to celebrate a milestone birthday (we won’t reveal exactly how old!) so I’m expecting a barn full of family house guests for the weekend! I awoke yesterday to the usual morning alarm of our resident roosters and suddenly realised that I will need to do some serious planning to ensure my catering for the weekend is nothing short of moootacular!

I decided that my best bet would be to visit The Dairy Shop at Irene Farm – their extensive selection and scrumptious treats will definitely do. As I entered the shop, I must have looked a little flustered and shaky on my hooves because the friendly shop manager rushed over to ask if she could help! Together we wondered through the shop and she helped me put together a most mooolicious menu for the weekend:

Breakfast

I’ve stocked up on a few muesli options with some double thick strained yoghurt (preservative free) from The Gourmet Greek.

Mid-morning snack

A few packets of the most delicious biltong and dry wors are going to keep them happy till lunch time…

I think I’ll also get the Indezi River Creamery Cheese Affair which is a selection of artisanal cheeses from the KZN Midlands. An Almelba almond bread spread with The Cooksister Balsamic Fig and Rosemary Drizzle, then finished off with one of these cheeses is just tantalising. The shop manager suggested as an alternative, to put the Hillcrest Berry Orchards Watermelon Konfyt on top of the cheese and almond bread. Either way, it will make a most mooolicious mid-morning snack.

Lunch

The Dairy Shop has mouth-watering sausage rolls and chicken pies! Freshly baked, they are to die for! I’m going to have to get loads of these as the family are going to love them.

Afternoon tea

Tea with Irene Dairy Milk, of course. And Gudgu Ginger Beer (the best in town) for those that would prefer something refreshing. I’ll also pick up some Deneys Swiss Dairy Full Cream Drinking Yoghurt for the kids. Available in a variety of flavours, it’s one of my personal favourites.

Afternoon tea always deserves to be a decadent affair so I’ll be making sure the following treats are on the table: the most mooolicious Mrs Burger’s Milk Tart (I could eat one all on my own!), a white and dark Chiffon Cake as well as a few packets of Ons Bakhuiz assorted biscuits.

Dinner

I taste tested the whole roasted chicken and it is amooozing (better than the ones bought at other local stores!), so I’ve decided on this for dinner with a fresh salad drizzled with balsamic dressing. Purchasing the chicken already cooked means I’ll have less time in the kitchen and more time to catch up with Aunt Daisy.

For dessert, a DIY Dairy Cow Eton Mess is going to have them moooing for more! For the first layer I’ll be crushing Megan’s Meringue Rosettes, then a layer of Hillcrest Berry Orchards assorted berries and finally topping it off with the Irene Farm’s fabulously famous double thick cream.

It’s great to know that The Dairy Shop has everything I need to make sure our guests are well fed. I’m sure the visiting family members are going to want to visit there before returning home to stock on some of their own favourites!

Till Next Week

The Dairy Cow

Family Fun at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

27th June 2017 at 8:41 am

 

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Moootastic family fun

Upon returning from a two week business trip to the fairest Cape (where he was in charge of researching some exciting developments that Farmer van der Byl has in stall in the near future), Bill decided that some quality family time was much needed. He thought it the ideal opportunity to book us the Family Fun package at African Pride Irene Country Lodge, not only so that the calves could experience staying in a hotel but also so that we could enjoy experiencing the luxury of all that the Lodge has to offer.

Needless to say, we arrived for check in early Friday afternoon with three super excited calves in tow…

After been ushered to our inter-leading rooms and once the calves had sussed out every corner of their accommodation for the night, we opened up the patio doors to a lush, green, gorgeous view. Within two minutes our youngest was over at the kiddies play area where he made new friends, enjoyed the jumping castle and played soccer for the afternoon. Our other two calves made themselves comfy in bed and read the afternoon away.

Bill and I simply sat on our patio and took in every bit of peace and tranquillity that we could. A snack platter and some refreshing sundowners meant that we finally had some time to catch up whilst the calves were as happy as little pigs in mud!

In the late afternoon a typical Highveld thunderstorm rolled in and although we all had to come back indoors, it was a mooovelous sight to see. The colours of the sky with loud thunder and glorious rain was wonderful to watch from our beautifully decorated rooms.

That evening we headed off for dinner in the Meadow Green Restaurant where our calves were spoilt with delicious milkshakes and the best spaghetti bolognaise ever! Bill and I enjoyed the buffet – variety and melt in your mouth deliciousness was the order of the day.

On the walk back to our rooms that evening the calves commented on how much they loved staying at the Lodge and Bill was pleased that he had made the right choice.

After a restful night’s sleep we awoke to yet another beautiful day. I noticed the calves’ eyes doubling in size when they saw what was on offer at the breakfast buffet and this was one morning that I didn’t put my hoof down insisting that it was a healthy one! Pancakes, pastries, fresh muffins and croissants – need I say more! We all ate to our hearts content and the best part was, I didn’t have to deal with hungry tummies till dinner time that day!

Before departing, we were sure to do a little more exploring and we enjoyed a game of identifying the abundant birdlife on the lake.

Our Family Fun getaway was worth every minute spent with my gorgeous brood in what is most certainly, my most favourite Destination Irene place to stay.

Till Next Week

The Dairy Cow

The Meadow Green Restaurant

14th June 2017 at 9:46 am

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Around the World in 80 bites!

Our middle calf has ambitious dreams of travelling the world. She mooo’s about grazing the fields in Europe and assures me that she might call home at least once a month! Bill and I had a good chuckle at her last week when we overheard her telling her siblings that she’s sure to still get delicious Irene Dairy Farm milk from the cafés in France…

We decided to take the opportunity to teach our calves a little more about diverse cuisine and so booked a Friday evening dinner for five at the Meadow Green Restaurant at African Pride Irene Country Lodge. Bill had chatted to the chef and he discovered that the Around the World in 80 bites buffet would be on offer.

Armed with very hungry tummies, we herded off across the road for our 7pm booking. (Thank goodness we thought to book ahead as the restaurant was full!).

Our friendly waiter ushered us to a beautifully set table and offered to show us around the buffet.

With delicious salad starters, breads and cold meats we knew that this was going to be a graze worth every bite. On to the mains including a selection of vegetables, a carvery of lamb and chicken, oxtail stew and ‘real time’ cooking of Chinese noodles and seafood – we were glad that this varied selection would introduce our calves to a little more than their usual fields of green.

One of the most impressive parts of our evening was that the Chef’s at The Meadow Green Restaurant were on hand to answer any questions. As we wondered around the buffet they offered information on the various dishes and the calves enjoyed the interactive station where they cook the meals while you wait. This allows for a festive environment where food is the topic of the day.

When it came time for choices to be made, we were all a little conflicted! Everything looked so delicious but we knew that we couldn’t have it all – we would end up rolling back across to the barn!

Bill opted for the meatier meal with what he described as an unbeatable oxtail and slices of the leg of lamb. The calves decided on Chinese noodles with their own extras of chicken, peppers and tomatoes whilst I settled on my some of my favourites – crispy fresh salad and seafood. Needless to say, we all added some extras here and there just for a taste!

After sipping on a bottle of gorgeous wine recommended by our waitron, Bill and I convinced the kids to wait half an hour before heading for the deserts. Best decision ever!

The desert bar was to die for!

Needless to say, we did end up rolling back to the barn that night, but it was worth every last bite…

Till Next Week

THE DAIRY COW

For those of you that missed my amazing newsletters and need familiarity as to who I am or the characters I often refer to in my updates, click here to read more…

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

6th June 2017 at 4:23 pm

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Bundu bashing in our backyard!

Living on a farm in the city, we get to experience nature a little more first-hand than most. Monkeys, rabbits and the occasional squirrel are often exciting sightings as we go about our daily lives. But Bill and I have been wanting to experience true ‘Africa’ with the calves for quite some time now, so when we read up about Rietvlei Nature Reserve in our Destination Irene magazine, we decided it was time…

Loaded with some yummy snacks (from The Farm Shop, of course) and with three very excited calves in the back seat, we made the 5 minute journey just across the R21 Highway. From the moment we drove through the reserve entrance gate, we felt a sense of bushveld bliss that we so often dream of escaping to.

On arrival at reception, we opted for the self-drive option – being the first time our calves were experiencing wild animals up close we thought it best to keep them contained in our vehicle! The reserve, however, offers organised game drives, walks and lion tours – all of which come highly recommended for your African bush experience.

And off we went…

Entering the reserve, we were met with the most beautiful view. A majestic dam and grassland all around. We started seeking all there was to see with a competition in the back seat as to whom could spot something first.

Just a few minutes into the drive and there stood a herd of blesbok. A good start to our day which got even more exciting as our next sighting was a white rhino with her calf. We sat watching them for a while as the calf playfully jumped around beside its mommy – such a treat to see.

Ambling through the dirt roads, we came across numerous other sightings before stopping off at the coffee shop (once a farm house) for a break. Also a large picnic area, the calves enjoyed the jungle gyms whilst Bill and I sipped on cappuccinos.

Then it was back into the car for a late afternoon drive. As we made our way to the main road we were met with the most exciting sighting of all – a cheetah with her cubs (three of them). The calves were jumping around on the back seat with excitement (exactly why we didn’t want them on a game drive!) and they gushed at how adorable the cubs were. We sat on the road and observed them for well over half an hour as they rolled around and played with each other, only paying attention every now and then to what their mother was doing (typical).

We returned to the barn feeling like we had been on a safari and the calves went to bed that evening chatting about their exciting day.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve is well worth the visit and the best part is, it’s right in our backyard!

Till Next Week!

THE DAIRY COW

For those of you that missed my amazing newsletters and need familiarity as to who I am or the characters I often refer to in my updates, click here to read more…

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