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A Decadent Affair

6th Mar 2018 at 2:46 pm

An elegant Affair

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.

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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 Lobby Lounge was one of complete decadence – I’m not convinced that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

Pretty Pottery at The Clay Café

21st Feb 2018 at 7:49 am

Summer Fun at The Clay Café

With summer upon us and the promise of a wonderful season 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.

Let the creativity begin…

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

Love me some V-day spoils from Camdeboo Day Spa

13th Feb 2018 at 9:03 am

Valentine’s Date Night at Camdeboo Day Spa

Valentines came a little early for me this year! After a rather hectic month of Januworry with back to school and all, Bill decided to surprise me with a visit to my absolute favourite spot – Camdeboo Day Spa

After what felt like the longest week ever, I arrived back at the barn on Friday evening to find my Mooother-in-law settled in on my barrel of hay! Before I could moooan in Bill’s ear, he quickly told me that she was there to babysit for the evening as he and I were going out!

I have to say (and let’s keep this between you and me), I wasn’t really feeling it! The thought of having to dress up, but on my big girl heels and herd off for a night on the town wasn’t really on my list of plans. But when Bill mentioned Camdeboo Day Spa and then… Valentines Date Night… well, I was in!

Mooother-in-law assured us that she had the calves sorted – so my valentine and I took a lovely stroll over to African Pride Irene Country Lodge.

Let the pampering begin!

Upon arrival, the lovely Camdeboo Day Spa ladies offered us a refreshing home-made ice tea and the chance to relax in their reception area whilst they got things ready for our treatment. After changing into our gowns, Bill and I were ushered to our treatment room where the next hour of total relaxation dreams came true!

A full body massage has to be the best treat ever – our therapists used Spalicious oil to rub into all our aching muscles with expert techniques and professionalism. It was so relaxing that I think I might have drifted off at one stage! Bill really enjoyed it too, this was evident in his sporadic bursts of snoring and the therapists were very good not to giggle! I suppose they might consider their clients drifting off to lala land a compliment – it certainly confirms their goal of ultimate relaxation.

And the Valentine’s spoils didn’t end there as we were each given a Gold Filigree Gift Box from MatsiMela to take home…

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And, now, to relax!

Once done (with very heavy eyes and loads of yawning!), we herded to the gardens where we were further treated to a snack platter and a bottle of Pongraz. Bill and I chatted about the calves, life on the farm and all the wonderful things we have to be grateful for. It was a fabulously romantic way to spend some time enjoying each other’s company – something we don’t often get to do.

Sipping on Pongraz and gazing at the beautiful setting, I felt the stress of everyday life drift away. We must have sat staring at the stars, and each other, for a long while as when Bill looked at his watch he was surprised to see how late it was! We herded back to the barn, hoof in hoof feeling the love as only true Valentines should.

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If you haven’t already, then do you and your loved one a favour – book the Valentines Date Night at Camdeboo Day Spa. Love yourselves some V-day spoils of your own!

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful round of Golf at Irene Country Club

6th Feb 2018 at 8:07 am

A Beautiful Round of Golf!

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.

Let the swinging begin

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.



FORE!

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,
The Dairy Cow

Destination Irene: February 2018 Newsletter

5th Feb 2018 at 12:16 pm

Romancing like a bull!

Being the head of the heard, Bill is often inundated with young bulls wanting to know the secrets to wooing the cows in the fields.

Of course, he loves Destination Irene just as much as I do so we have loads of fun coming up with super romantic ways to ensure the ladies get the treatment they deserve. The impending month of love this year has been no different. Bill asked me to scout the Destination Irene offerings so he has a plan of action for those looking to romance their ladies like a bull!

Valentine’s Promotions

Firstly, African Pride Irene Country Lodge has their Romantic Rendezvous package – perfect for couples wanting a wonderful break away from the norm.  Dreamy superior accommodation, a five-course dinner and breakfast in the Meadow Green Restaurant, a picnic lunch under the oak trees and selected spa treatments with the complimentary use of the day spa aqua facilities – you and your better half will feel loved up to the max. R2 639 per person sharing, per night… who could ask for more?

For the bulls wanting to woo their better half (or potential future better half) with a night of fine dining, African Pride Irene Country Lodge’s Meadow Green Restaurant has the perfect Valentines Dinner offering. At just R595 per person, platted starter options of duck, beetroot three ways and a scrumptious looking salad are just the beginning of this taste sensation extravaganza. Moving on to the buffet main course including soup, a charcutery selection, a live action pasta station and much more, this spread will definitely impress your date. Then a platted desert, because we all deserve something sweet on Valentines, and ending off with a selection of cheese and breads. Pencil it in, 14 February 2018 and book it before it’s too late!

A firm favourite with the ladies (bulls take note!) is the Valentine’s Date Night at Camdeboo Day Spa. Available for the whole month of February (so there’s absolutely no excuse boys!) a Twice as Nice Massage, snack platter, bottle of Pongraz and a Gold Filigree Gift Box is all yours for R2 115 per couple. You can’t go wrong with this fabulous treat!

For those not able to take advantage of the Valentine’s Date Night package (because you were too late to book),don’t forget that Camdeboo Day Spa has a whole bunch of Date Night packages that will definitely make up for it…

 

Last but not least, and a firm Destination Irene favourite, is Irene Farm’s offerings that will make any cow feel most loved.

A romantic outing to the recently refurbished The Deck Restaurant with beautiful views over the farm and a smashing menu to boot is just perfect. A stroll around the farm afterwards is a winner too – like you’ve escaped to the countryside for your own little private Valentine’s celebration.

 

If you haven’t already, then why not book a romantic photoshoot on the farm? The calves and I have often witnessed the most beautiful couple’s photos being taken next to the fields, creating images to keep for a lifetime. We are so blessed to have such a picturesque place in the city.

Bull will be pleased to hear of the variety on offer this month. He has a reputation to maintain – being a mentor is no easy job!

I look forward to hearing all the cows moooing in the fields about their romantic valentines treats and I’ll quietly smile to myself when they cooo about how their bulls came up with the ideas all by themselves!

Till next month,
The Dairy Cow

Bundu Bashing at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve

23rd Jan 2018 at 9:45 am

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 Deli, 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).

Reitvlei Nature Reserve - Cheetah

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

 

 

 

The Smuts House Museum

17th Jan 2018 at 10:00 am

Smuts House Museum (the ‘Big House’) was home to General Jan C. Smuts (1870 to 1950), one of South Africa’s greatest sons.

He bought the wood and iron building that had served as the officers’ mess for £300.

It is believed that the building was originally prefabricated in Britain, taken to India by the British Army and later shipped to South Africa. It was then dismantled and brought to Pretoria by rail. It arrived at the Doornkloof farm by ox wagon, where it was re-erected at the substantial cost of £1000 in 1909.

General Smuts was at sea, on his way to England. He was a member of the National Convention delegation, when Mrs Smuts moved her family into the house on 10 July 1909.

The plan was altered on rebuilding and as the years passed, a kitchen and pantry (1918) and other rooms were added. The veranda’s were enclosed (front veranda, 1942). The Big House is, however, substantially as it was a century ago.

A visit to the Museum:

When you visit the museum, the unpretentious building strikingly illustrates Smuts’s indifference to luxury and ease of living, and here he spent the happiest hours of his life.

After his death in 1950, Mrs Smuts continued to live in the only real home she had ever known, until her death in 1954. Both General and Mrs Smuts died in the Big House.

Their ashes were scattered, as were other members of the Smuts family, on the top of Smuts Koppie – the rugged hill behind the house

The Smuts House Museum seeks to represent General Smuts’s lifestyle and multi-facetted career, as well as to promote the holistic vision on which he expounded in his life and writings.

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Contact details:

Tel:  Anne Anspach (General Manager) 012 670 9017

E-mail: admin@smutshouse.co.za

Website:  http://www.facebook.com/smutshousemuseum

Opening hours:                08h00 to 15h30 every day except Good Friday, Worker’s Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Facilities include :

  • Ouma Isie’s Tea Garden:  open daily, (except Mondays) for teas and light meals, with special Buffet Lunch on Sundays.
  • The Oubaas Walking Trail, a circular walk of 2,3km up to the Kopjie and Smuts’ Monument.
  • An Arboretum and Place of Quiet.
  • Tranquil Picnic spots in beautiful, shady areas on the grounds.
  • Catering for functions and events in peaceful, secure surroundings.

Till next week!

THE DAIRY COW

Smuts@Irene

9th Jan 2018 at 1:22 pm

 

MOOOI!

Moooi! Craft and market are two of my favourite words, so when I recently spotted the street advertisement for the Irene @ Smuts Market I decided it was time to pay it a visit…

With Bill and the calves in tow, we moooseyed on over to the Smuts House Museum last Saturday morning only to be met with the most wonderful vibe. Craft market heaven!

Bill headed straight for the newly built wooden deck where live music set the tone for an enjoyable morning. Craft beer and great food options meant that he was quite happy to soak up the tunes whilst the calves and I strolled around the stalls.

Proudly South African handmade products resulted in us spending quite some time chatting to the vendors – getting to know their crafts and admiring their makes. From handmade glycerine soap (which smells divine) to perfectly sewn Barbie doll dresses, there is something for everyone at this market.

I was mostly impressed with the creativity and originality of some of the vendors. I purchased a lovely shopper bag, which I plan to use for my weekly Irene Farm Shop visit, made out of recycled washing powder packets – who would have thought! Not only did I enjoy every minute of exploring this market, but I felt like I was helping to save the environment in my own little way!

Another one which caught my eye (and my wallet!) was a vendor making Tree of life décor from old bicycle rims. Mine will be proudly displayed on our barnyard gate entrance. I’ll be sure to post a pic on my Facebook page as the Tree of life photos are all the rage right now!

Beautiful jewellery, clothing, paintings and more – you can see why we were there for the whole morning! Not forgetting the antique stalls. The calves and I had so much fun checking out all the old goodies, much of which I had to explain what they were!

It wasn’t long before my youngest calve was tugging at my hoof for something to eat and drink so we decided to stay for lunch.

Vetkoek, gourmet hot dogs, pizzas, paninis, pull pork sandwiches – you name it, they’ve got it! And the drinks aren’t far behind… We saw many happy market goers with a glass of wine in their hands and the craft beer vendor seemed rather busy too… I stuck to my trusty favourite – coffee – and it was a mooovelous one at that, whilst the claves had their all-time market must – bubble tea!

Together with Bill, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the time spent together. The market buzz in the air made the atmosphere complete.

On the walk home, the calves moooed about how much fun the morning had been and asked when we could go back! I’ve since discovered that they hold a Moonlight Market on the last Friday evening of each month – I’m going to pencil that into the calendar right now…

 

 

A Festive Feast

19th Dec 2017 at 8:20 am

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Upon opening my diary this morning, my milk production nearly went into overdrive! Just FIVE more days till Christmas – that’s mooorazy!

In true Dairy Cow family style, I suspect we will have all and sundry joining us for Christmas Day lunch! My mooother-in-law is sadly not as sharp as she used to be so when I called her this morning to discuss making a Destination Irene booking I had to remind her of the fantastic lunch we had last year at African Pride Irene Country Lodge...

In December 2016, with a barn full of family for the holidays, I soon realised that Christmas Lunch was going to be a mission of note! Bill and I love a good Christmas celebration and we felt we wanted to enjoy it to the max too, so we all agreed that the Meadow Green Restaurant would be our Christmas Day Lunch of choice.

Upon arrival we were ushered to our beautifully themed Christmas table complete with Christmas crackers and hats. The calves herded over to the kiddies entertainment area where they enjoyed the jumping castle, face painters and entertainers. Apart from having to pry them away to enjoy the spectacular traditional Christmas lunch spread, we didn’t see them again until it was time to leave.

The most memorable event of the day was Father Christmas sky diving onto the African Pride Irene Country Lodge lawn with treats for the calves in his sack.

A five-star meal with all the trimmings was most certainly enjoyed by all – a taste bud extravaganza to say the least. Starters, mains and desserts were aplenty and no-one went home hungry! In fact,  I think it filled most for the next day too as I only recall discussing making another meal two days after that.

Mooother-in-law quickly remembered once I reminded her of the fabulous family time we had, toasting to good health, happiness and the joy that Christmas time brings. She certainly recalls having an afternoon nap after enjoying the scrumptious meal that Meadow Green Restaurant offered.

We agreed that this upcoming Christmas lunch should be just as exciting and so I’ll be contacting them today.

She also reminded me that Irene Farm has a Christmas Lunch offering too so if I’m too late in getting space for us at the African Pride Irene Country Lodge’s Christmas Lunch options, I should try Irene Farm which promises to be just as wonderful. Hopefully they aren’t both already fully booked!

Now to get the numbers right – I’ll be in mooorse trouble if I leave anyone off the Christmas Lunch list…

Till Next Week,
The Dairy Cow

 

 

 

Willow Feather Farm – “Passionate growers of indigenous trees”

22nd Nov 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 Nov 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 Nov 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

Pre-wedding PARTY at The Barn Restaurant

5th Oct 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

Drinks at The Lakeside Bar at African Pride Irene Country Lodge

20th Sep 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

A mooolicious menu

7th Jul 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

The Meadow Green Restaurant

14th Jun 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

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Easter Spa Getaway

7th Apr 2017 at 9:38 am

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And… relax…

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 and 2016 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

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…

Irene@Smuts

23rd Mar 2017 at 4:45 pm

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Moooi!

Craft and market are two of my favourite words, so when I recently spotted the street advertisement for the Irene@Smuts Market I decided it was time to pay it a visit…

With Bill and the calves in tow, we moooseyed on over to the Smuts House Museum last Saturday morning only to be met with the most wonderful vibe. Craft market heaven! Irene@Smuts Market is a deli and handmade goods market that takes place every second and last Saturday of the month. Proudly South African craft at its best.

Bill headed straight for the newly built wooden deck where live music set the tone for an enjoyable morning. Craft beer and great food options meant that he was quite happy to soak up the tunes whilst the calves and I strolled around the stalls.

Proudly South African handmade products resulted in us spending quite some time chatting to the vendors – getting to know their crafts and admiring their makes. From handmade glycerine soap (which smells divine) to perfectly sewn Barbie doll dresses, there is something for everyone at this market.

I was mostly impressed with the creativity and originality of some of the vendors. I purchased a lovely shopper bag, which I plan to use for my weekly Irene Farm Shop visit, made out of recycled washing powder packets – who would have thought! Not only did I enjoy every minute of exploring this market, but I felt like I was helping to save the environment in my own little way!

Another one which caught my eye (and my wallet!) was a vendor making Tree of life décor from old bicycle rims. Mine will be proudly displayed on our barnyard gate entrance. I’ll be sure to post a pic on my Facebook page as the Tree of life photos are all the rage right now!

Beautiful jewellery, clothing, paintings and more – you can see why we were there for the whole morning! Not forgetting the antique stalls. The calves and I had so much fun checking out all the old goodies, much of which I had to explain what they were!

It wasn’t long before my youngest calve was tugging at my hoof for something to eat and drink so we decided to stay for lunch.

Vetkoek, gourmet hot dogs, pizzas, paninis, pull pork sandwiches – you name it, they’ve got it! And the drinks aren’t far behind… We saw many happy market goers with a glass of wine in their hands and the craft beer vendor seemed rather busy too… I stuck to my trusty favourite – coffee – and it was a mooovelous one at that, whilst the claves had their all-time market must – bubble tea!

Together with Bill, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the time spent together. The market buzz in the air made the atmosphere complete.

On the walk home, the calves moooed about how much fun the morning had been and asked when we could go back! I’ve since discovered that they hold a Moonlight Market on the last Friday evening of each month – I’m going to pencil that into the calendar right now…

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…

Romance was the order of the day!

10th Mar 2017 at 12:22 pm

After our hectic weekend of hosting all the family for Bill’s birthday, he arranged the most romantic spoil for us… all with the help of the amazing staff at African Pride Irene Country Lodge.
I must say, I was most impressed. A) That Bill took the initiative to arrange such a wonderful surprise and B) that he got to take all the credit for it! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Bill dearly for the spoil but I secretly know that all he did was make a phone call to book… African Pride Irene Country Lodge went the extra mile.

We arrived on Friday afternoon to the most romantic welcome with rose petals adorning our room. My most favourite spoil was the romantic bath set up with candles – just like we see in the movies! Once we arrived, we immediately felt relaxed and decided to spend the evening in.
With a beautiful setting on our balcony, Bill and I ordered from the In Room Dining menu. Starter choices from cranberry filled Camembert to Beef Carpaccio, left little doubt our meal would be mooolicious.

Bill opted for the signature Beef – Rib Eye dish (highly recommended by the Guest Relations Manager, Pamela) and I settled for a Beef Gourmet Burger. Seated out on our balcony overlooking the gorgeous view, Bill and I enjoyed the tranquillity coupled with our own private company. It’s not often that we get to enjoy an evening together without one of the calves tugging at my hoof for something!

I was most impressed that the In Room Dining menu offers such variety. Choices of Duck, Kingklip and Chicken Supreme make for a gourmet meal in and it’s perfect for a nesting couple.
Dessert is always my favourite part of any meal and I was, once again, torn as to which option to choose. A New York Baked Cheesecake was the final winner and boy, what a winner it is – the ultimate indulgence.
After dinner I took a long, hot, candle lit bath and I enjoyed every minute. There’s something about an oversized bath tub that makes one want to linger forever and of course, the ambience made it all the more luxurious. A glass of red wine on the side to finish my evening off and we retreated to bed.
Awakening to the birds on the Saturday morning, Bill and I decided to take a walk around the property (to work off some of the meal from the night before!). A handy walking trail guide was in our room and so we set off around the beautiful lake where we were met with all sorts of birdlife. Ending in a forest-like setting, we freshened up before heading off to the Meadow Green Restaurant for breakfast.
After that Romantic Night indulgence, Bill is in the good books for a few weeks to come. Hoooves up to the staff at African Pride Irene Country Lodge for making it such a fantastic stay.

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…

Valentine Dinner in Centurion

10th Feb 2017 at 12:18 pm

Oh what a night!

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 my mooother-in-law watch the kids and booked us a fabulous Saturday Night Live 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!

The Dinner!

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 Caesar 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!

The Ambiance!

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 end!

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

 

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