Around the time of our first year anniversary, I was under heavy stress and in full swing of a most hectic production that offered me no spare time to arrange an anniversary present until pretty much the day before the big day.. I had these beautiful ideas during the year, where I discussed them with my huzzband, figuring that maybe we could do a joint vaaib to alleviate the additional pressure on both of us for individual xmas presents. Although mostly for my sake since it happens to be his birthday in December too.
Because the first anniversary is paper, I thought it a great idea to commission art for this and ran it passed Markstry who merely murmured hmmm mmm maybe at the time.
So come the day before the anniversary and I still haven’t a paper present having not had a moment since October to arrange anything particularly extravagant like the art I had in mind earlier in the year. Also, feeling particularly flush at the time having worked some, I decided an airplane ticket would be (albeit a bit predictable) a good and quick idea.
And maybe a guide book and map.
Or maybe just the guide book and map after seeing the ticket prices to Greece.
But then I remembered how we’ve always wanted to traverse the winelands of the Cape and quite immediately I knew this was the not so predictable airplane ticket - accompanied by a wine diary and map. Not to mention the lining up of dates in April, several public holidays dotted over a week enabling us a week’s stay in the winelands without needing to worry too greatly about missing out on any work. Not that advertising cares much about holidays but I took the leap anyway.
So the morning of the big day, I was too chuffed to present huzzband my fabulous, well thought out gift which was met with much enthusiasm.
And then of course, he had to up me with my very own idea and gifted to me a paper drawing of us by the wonderful Koos Groeneweld. Cheeky, clever huzzband.
Up until this point in our marriage, my huzzband had handled ALL accommodation bookings - which does two things. One, it allows me the freedom to complain if I don’t like it and secondly he forfeits that privilege. Maybe that’s just one thing. Either way, it made for a much more costly stay in Croatia than I expected as he chose all the lodgings. In all my previous trips outside of my grandmother’s house, you’re able to find some pretty affordable spots but I digress.
Back in Stellies, at first we were shown to the what I imagine is the smallest room in the hotel and I was dumbfounded. This was not what I was expecting at all. I pleaded with the manager on duty that evening and asked him if we could please have a different room, at least one with a bathtub as we were here for our anniversary.
It always helps to handle situations like these in a calm and pleasant manner, although it does take a lot of self control to not lose your shit over it either, so this lovely gentleman showed us to another room, much bigger and with the coveted bathtub.
The following day we set out to Franschoek after a most delishis breakfast at the hotel. The continental spread was impressive and once I found my omelette of choice, this was me err’day.
Our first day out in the winelands and we hit the famous Haute Cabriere, sampling all of the wines on offer. This was the day that we discovered we quite enjoy Chardonnay which is quite big news considering that neither of us are really big white wine drinkers.
We witnessed the owner of the farm performing the slicing of the top off the bottle of bubbles with a sword and pretty much ordered a case of everything we tried bar the sweet wine.
And even after a week in the winelands, wine pairing at dinners, we still aren’t so keen on this type of wine, or at least enough to buy it for home.
On this day we also visited Moreson and delighted in the Chardonnay on offer here. The Mercator, the flagship, was like an explosion of sunshine in your mouth, I felt like I was eating the sun. Dr Reason Why was an unwooded Chardonnay that was aged in three different containers and then blended together, those being steel, terracotta and concrete. I mean, who could resist buying a case of that?
And then, as if we didn’t have enough, they offered a Cabernet Franc which is rare to find on its own as it’s only really used in Bordeaux blends, of which there were only 2000 bottles of that vintage that made it, being quite the tricky grape to grow.
After this we indulged in a 2 course lunch at the restaurant on the farm, Bread and Butter and the food was exquisite.
After day 1, we were 40 bottles in and we were only getting started. And it appeared that we couldn’t get enough of Frranschoek either and kept coming back for more - La Motte, L’Ormarins and Rupert Rothschild, Zorgvliet (which is more Pniel but close enough) to a name a few.
Every restaurant we visited was a monumental foodie affair. We were basically eating three course meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner never mind the copious amounts of wine tasted and purchased. But life is short, and you only live once, so waste not a moment! And there’s always diets and detox when we get back home right?
Not really so much when it would seem the consistent array of couriers arriving to deliver box after box of wines. 130 bottles to be exact.
And before I leave Stellenbosch, after all, I haven’t really touched on many of the little gems we found hidden behind the more well-known farms, I must impart the story of our return to the hotel after our first day out. It’s quite a lovely service, leaving the car outside the front of the hotel and having one of the concierge park it for you and bring it out front again when you need it.
After our return from Frranschoek that first day, we were greeted so pleasantly by the reception desk and congratulated on our anniversary. When we stepped into our room, we discovered a complimentary bottle of bubbles (from Haute Cabriere even!) on ice, a slice of cheese cake and rose petals everywhere. It was as sweet a gesture that I will soon not forget - you have to admire the hotel’s attention to detail here.
So now back in Jozi, dealing with courier company phone calls all day and imminent arrival of wine, having eaten and drunk our way through Stellenbosch I was feeling rather plump and inflated. But as it would be after such an indulgent holiday, right?
Still, I was feeling rather depressed about the whole thing, especially since I couldn’t face the idea of a diet when I had been eating so richly - I constantly felt like I was starved. It was also difficult to try and attempt any detox when there were so many pleasant wines to choose from, and it was just one glass at dinner anyway.
I begun feeling the usual erratic array of emotions that accompany those days before the monthly flow, the swollen breasts and month-on-month-off desire to eat all of the chocolate, this time more than usual. I even tweeted about it, wishing for my damn period to arrive so I could feel better about the despicable way I was behaving.
And then I started experiencing a single cramp like I’ve never had before. 20 seconds of sheer agony about twice a day. I’m never late, I may be a day or two off every month but never late. Huzzband offered to go and buy tests and I laughed and told him to go right ahead. We’ve been “reckless” since our wedding night and so I wasn’t particularly thinking that anything was a miss.
It was not even 10 seconds that the second line appeared on the Clicks (pretty damn accurate) test. Nothing can ever prepare you for how you feel when you see that. I’m almost 29, married to a great man, in a fabulous place in my career but when I saw those double lines I felt like I was 16 and going to be in the biggest trouble of my life. Shaking controllably (it’s a thing) I told Markstry and the beautiful beam of happiness that washed over him only made me feel worse.
“I was going to be disappointed if you weren’t.”
Well damn, what now? Slowly, logic made its way back to my mind and started to help with the “is this really happening” thoughts. We popped the final bottle of champagne that I would have over the next 9 months and celebrated. We discussed telling our families when we would all be together in NiceNa in a months time and I went to bed feeling so very strange.
I woke the next morning and it was like I was a different person to the semi-neurotic mess from the afternoon before. I was elated. I couldn’t believe that I had felt any of those doubts the day before. This was the best fucking thing that could have ever happened to me, I am amazing! I am a vessel, I am growing life inside of me! And only me and Markstry know about it. It was the best secret in the world to have. But definitely not one I could keep from my schmommy. As soon as the doctor confirmed it for me, clutching my first picture of Little Bean, I made the most teary phone call. I asked her to keep it a secret because of our intention to tell everybody in a month.
Jeepers. There’s no more mammoth task than trying to keep the news of a pregnancy to yourself. And so despite our best intentions to wait a month, along with Schmommy’s daily calls “I’m dying, please let me tell Dad” we took to tell all the future grandparents that very weekend.
Suddenly I felt like spreading the news like wild fire in a pine forest. We sat our close friends for dinner to break the news. It was against all the rules of waiting till the 12 week mark, but I couldn’t stand the idea of everybody guessing because of the clear lifestyle change. Not to mention how many of my dearest smoke damn cigarettes - already I’m some kinda helicopter parent.
Now, rather beyond the 12 week mark, I am still safely cradling our little lion cub in my womb, feeling my uterus ever stretching and getting told off by the doctor to watch how many carbs I eat. Dammit, and Schmommy told me to enjoy my pregnancy and not worry about such things...
And so begins my latest journey with my wardrobe obsession, each day finding an outfit that fit and then as if it wasn't enough, outfits for our little lion cub :D