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Franschhoek, South Africa

franschhoek_01At the end of February we had some friends get married in South Africa and knowing this might be our last big trip before the little one arrives in May, Reid and I jumped at the chance to take full advantage of a long weekend in one of our favorite places. One of the nice things about traveling to South Africa from London is that you are only one or two hours ahead of your regular timezone and even though it is a long flight (around 11 hours) you don’t suffer from jet lag because there isn’t much of a time difference. So when we landed on a beautiful sunny day in Cape Town, we got into our rental car and headed out to Franschhoek in wine country where we would be staying for the weekend.

franschhoek_02franschhoek_03You may remember our first visit to South Africa when we stayed at Babylonstoren (probably still one of my most favorite places on earth). Unfortunately, it was already booked up when we got around to getting our hotel sorted but we made sure to stop by for a delicious lunch at their green house followed by a wander in the garden and of course checking out their farm and wine shop for goodies to take home. After we tore ourselves away we headed on to Franschhoek, about a 10 minute drive up the rode, and checked into the beautiful Le Franschhoek Hotel which came recommended to us by our friends who were getting married that weekend.

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franschhoek_05We lucked out with a seriously stunning view from our hotel room and I loved watching the sky change throughout the day. We could also see the pool from our room and I knew immediately that I wanted to relax there as much as possible. Overall, I was really pleased with the hotel and enjoyed wandering the grounds and soaking up all of the sunshine I could.

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The rest of our first afternoon was spent exploring the town of Franschhoek, which is very charming, followed by dinner at the hotel. Other than wedding activities, I knew I wanted to eat at The Table de Meye, a restaurant run by a wife and husband on a wine estate. I came across them through instagram and when they had a spot for lunch available on Saturday, I was so excited to get to go.

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Again the weather was absolutely beautiful so they had the different tables set up outside beneath the trees with beautifully mismatched place settings and floral arrangements. It all looked stunning and thought out but not forced. If the food had been sub-par, I still would have been a happy camper because of the setting but everything we ate was beyond excellent. You can see the menu we had that day on their blog here. I think Reid’s favorite dish was the starter of tomatoes on a puff pastry and of course I just about died when the dessert came out- a seriously decadent chocolate mousse.

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The rest of our time was spent wine tasting (for Reid, not me unfortunately), being outdoors as much as possible whether this meant having a picnic or taking a dip in the pool and of course, the main event, celebrating our friends’ wedding. It could not have been a more relaxing time and a great final trip as just the two of us. But hopefully one day we can make it back down south for a family trip in the future!

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Clyde

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Its been quiet over here since the new year and I had not really planned on that but we’ve had lots of exciting changes happening in the Murphy household as of late. To name a few… we moved house and have been settling into our new place and neighbourhood. We are expecting a baby at the end of May! And, just in case we didn’t have enough change going on, we also added another furry member to the family. Everyone, I would like for you to meet Clyde! He is an old english bulldog and has been such a fun addition- he’s even made our almost 13-year-old lab, Bonnie, more puppy-like. These photos are from the first few weeks we had him when he was only about 8 to 10 weeks old. Now he is a little over 4 months and has grown a ton (I’ll be sure to post some more recent photographs of him soon)!

 

I’ve got lots I want to share on here about fun things to do and see in London, more Londoner profiles, stories from around the home and of course stories of our recent travels. Until then, I hope you enjoy these puppy photos and see you back here again soon!

 

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Cornwall in Summer

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Now that it’s October, I am finally ready for autumn to arrive, get my sweaters out of storage from beneath the bed and cooking more hearty meals for those chilly nights. But that doesn’t mean that I am finished reminiscing about summer. Back in August a group of us were invited down to our friend’s amazing home in Cornwall for what has turned into our third annual trip down that way (you can see previous trips here). Unlike past trips, we were blessed with beautiful weather pretty much every day and we took full advantage of it by having BBQs in the garden, swimming in the ocean, heading out on the boat to try to catch some fish and going for long walks along the coast. This year we made a return visit to the St. Kew Inn for a lovely pub lunch in their front garden before heading back to the house for a pretty hilarious mystery dinner party. This trip has always been a highlight of the year for Reid, Bonnie and I and this year was no different!

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Lisa / E2

A portrait series of people who call London home.

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How long have you lived in London?

All my life. I was born and raised in London and while all my family has moved, London will always be my home.

What makes someone a Londoner?

If you can embrace London with all it’s highs and lows then you are a Londoner. You can do anything, at any time. there is always something going on so you can never be bored.

North London or South London?

North of the river.

Favorite thing about living in London?

I love how when the sun shines it feels like everyone just gravitates towards any patch of green grass.

Least favorite thing about living in London?

Rush hour tubes.

Favorite spot to grab a drink?

Current favourite is Hawkhurst Vault in Brick Lane. Great tea, great cakes, beer and good people.

Favorite spot to grab a bite?

There are too many great places to eat in London. Soho and Shoreditch probably give the most variety for food. I love the Saturday markets but shooting weddings means I only get to experience these in the off season.

Taxi, Tube, Bus, Bike or Walk?

If I can I walk…best way to explore London.

Where do you go to get away from the city?

I have friends all over the UK so when given the chance I will visit them. But the other city which has stolen my heart is Berlin.

 

Kirstin / SE3

A portrait series of people who call London home.

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How long have you lived in London?

My whole life.

What makes someone a Londoner?

Someone who knows that visiting Oxford Street on a Saturday would be madness.

North London or South London?

South, though I have lived in North London for a while, so I can appreciate its merits too. 

Favorite thing about living in London?

London has always been a global hub. There’s always something going on, because if you live in London, the world comes to you. And it’s always exciting because there’s such a mixture of cultures and influences. 

Least favorite thing about living in London?

The winters can be very long especially if the summer is a bad one.

Favorite spot to grab a drink?

The Lansdowne in Primrose Hill.

Favorite spot to grab a bite?

Restaurant Story.

Taxi, Tube, Bus, Bike or Walk?

Whichever is the fastest for wherever I’m going.

Where do you go to get away from the city?

We like to mix up places we know well such as Aldeburgh, France, Italy, and New York with ones we don’t know at all (this year we’ve visited the Bay of Naples) and most especially if they have ancient ruins.

 

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