40 is the new 40 right?

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Most people arrive at a point in their lives where they reached a proverbial ‘reality check’.  Turning 40 last year, I felt really good about it.  I’m fit (but overweight), sucking every ounce out of life and making time for the things that are important.  Friends, Family, being active, food and the list goes on.  No reality checks that are needed at this stage.   Didn’t someone or some magazine say that 40 is the new 30?  Assumption right?

Wrong!  That reality check has dawned on me the last weekend where the blood pressure was scarily high, despite my active lifestyle and the doctor frowning upon me when I tried to humour the situation.  She didn’t think I was funny, she was my reality check.  I am indeed 40 and need meds. Bummer!

We all assume that we have enough time, we are doing enough, being in the spinning class or the bike at least 6 days out of the 7.  Are we doing enough?  Am I doing enough?  Well, this isn’t the whole story.  When we start to factor in things like, a diet that includes wine (not copious amounts, but a decent amount of it), fast food and a family history of hypertension and a bit of irresponsibility when it comes to healthy choices, surely it need to start showing somewhere.  My health.

Time. The one thing we do not have in copious amounts.  When we say 40 is the new 30, it can surely be that to someone.  We can still feel 30, but we need to manage this vessel that is indeed 40 years and 3 months old.  It will mean that I need to monitor the way I live life, the way I do life.  This doesn’t mean a radical change like braiding my beard, start a Peta process and becoming Vegan (heavens forbid), but it does mean that I need to exercise the healthier option where possible.  Taking the stairs and not the lift, leaving the cheesecake for now and rather enjoy the tea by itself, instead of Netflix, taking that walk, instead of dining out every evening, making that salad or veggies that are in the fridge and cooking up a storm in your own kitchen.

May I NEVER reach that point in my life where I cannot do the stuff I love, like restaurants and their delicious foods, making time for friends and enjoying that ‘kuier’ over a glass of red wine. Yes, I am 40 and I will never be 30 again and that’s pretty fine with me.  However, my 40 year old self can do something today to help my 50 year old self in the near but not so distant future, enjoy life better. Reality check: 40 is the new 40, but we can have fun and be wholesome while doing it!

PS. Sorry if I offended any braided beardy, protesting Vegans in this post.

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Run Rabbit Run Coffee Roastery

Being fortunate enough to attend a coffee experience , I wasn’t sure what to expect (well duh, apart from tasting amazing coffee).  So, not being Capetownian, I made my way from Blouberg into the city.  The maps application on my phone had other plans, we are not going to the trendy city centre, but rather took a sharp left towards Observatory.

Driving on, you get a sense that you are entering a very old part of Cape Town and seems almost industrial to some extend.  I arrived.  A beautiful building that looks almost like a theatre, the Bijou building.  I did some digging and found out that it was in fact a theatre, almost a forgotten era gem, but this is not the focus here….. coffee.

Run Rabbit Run micro coffee roastery is based in the foyer of the Bijou building.  From the moment you enter through the wrought iron doors, you get a sense that this is going to be a good one.  Talking to Phillip (the owner), you immediately know this guy is passionate about coffee.  You see, I love coffee, but I am not nearly as passionate about it as he is.  Being busy within the hospitality industry, Phillip told his story of moving from the restaurant sphere to what he loves best, coffee.  14 months being at it, roasting, trying, getting it right, getting it wrong, until he got to a point of perfection.

First up, was a bit of history and the way coffee was grown and harvested and one thing that strikes me as odd, was that he referred to it as actually being coffee seeds.  Well, technically it must be, because the bean is actually enveloped by fleshy fruit.  Ok, but that’s besides the point.  We moved on to coffee cupping.  Different blends, absorption rates, colour, acidity the whole shebang.  We even roasted a batch ourselves and that only in a few minutes while Phillip looked like a crazy Alchemist, turning knobs on the roasting machine, monitoring the graphs and constantly explaining the process.

I must admit that I got a little lost there as I couldn’t stop staring at the green coffee beans turning a deep, rich, brown and smelling the change and fragrant air that developed.  Done with the roasting it was time for a cup and he treated me to a pour-over of one of his special blends.  Taking it all in, being narrated by Phillip around every sip.  We closed the session with a trip to a nearby roastery called Espressolab and closed with a nice Kenian espresso and having a chat about consumerism and how we seldom don’t grasp the bigger picture at play.

Nearing the end I’m confronted with multiple messages, the dominant being coffee, but more so, enjoying your cup ethically.  Knowing what we consume haven’t caused harm to anyone, the environment and the industry at large.  Being able to buy a product that is of top grade and having a guilt-free experience is for you to decide and sadly we are dictated to what our wallets allows us.   One thing that we can exercise however, is a choice over how we speak about or what we say about those things we consume.  Being knowledgable and aware of what our purchase will do and what change we might affect by taking that glorious sip.

Responsible Giving

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Jip, congratulations on reading my blog.  However, you reading this have surely experienced some form of poverty or have been exposed to it.  Poverty in South Africa is a terrible epidemic and this can only be curbed through job creation, education and a nation that is looking at this challenge in a responsible manner.

Ok, so let me cut the crap.  We cannot give money to beggars on the street corner.  That’s it!

Why am I saying this?  Let me explain.  Let’s say you drive along Jan Shoba road on your way home.  You are most probably stuck in traffic and are almost confronted with the glare of a child standing at the intersection.  Looking drab and in pain, he clings to his dirty carton board asking for any form of assistance.  What do you feel?

Do you feel guilty?  Do you feel compelled to help? Do you feel you need to get away from this situation asap because you just cannot deal with it?  Whether you decide to help this child or not, might probably be the best way to you.  Greater the question actually, is it good for him?  You promptly take out that R5,00 coin that lies in your car and put it in his hand.  Bravo, you have helped him.  You feel good, he feels good and everything is as the world should be.

No not actually.  He perceives it as assistance and support instead of going somewhere to seek assistance with numerous NGO’s in your city, that mostly offers their help for free!  You are creating dependency.  He’s going to be back there tomorrow, standing in the intersection, waiting for someone to give him R5,00.  The aim must and should always be to move people who are socio-economically challenged from dependency to dignity (Vivienne Schultz, Dependency to dignity – The A2B for Community Development).

I truly believe that all people are compassionate, caring and believe and dream of a community where they too can feel valued, being able to support and give back.  We should always just think about the impact of what we do.  My suggestion?  Do a bit of research in your own city on how many NGO’s are there and what services they offer our vulnerable communities.  Why not strengthen THEIR hands to make a bigger impact with the same community you see on the intersections, or ring your bell asking for help.

Next time you want to get rid of the R5,00 coin, rather invest it with an NGO and refer our vulnerable community to one of the NGO’s in your city.  Let’s be responsible givers of our own resources and make a lasting impact in peoples lives.

xx

(PS.  I am involved with PEN and they are good stewards, why not talk to them on how to give responsibly.) http://www.pen.org.za.

The world of Musgrave!

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Garnishing to suit your tastebuds

I thought of myself as being a Gin virgin and … naaaah, I do have some experience with Gin.  I love it, I love the bitterness coupled with a tonic and a slice of lemon.  Now you see, that was my dimension of Gin (might I just add, not a bad one).

In my experience the Gin movement in South Africa isn’t a rife one but in the last two years, things have changed a bit in the world of Gin it seems.  Suddenly we became aware of Gin lounges, tastings and experiences being offered.  Is this hipster? Might be.  Being the explorative foodie (ok, that was a bit arrogant, but let’s let it hang there for a moment), I got an invite to attend a Musgrave Gin masterclass with fellow foodies.

Simone Musgrave, the owner of the Musgrave Gin brand graced us with an amazing evening of Gin, florals, tastes and pairings that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.  One thing is certain, Simone knows her Gin.  Musgrave’s story started already from the 1950’s where her Grandfather left Plymouth to do missionary work here in Africa.  Thank heavens for that, if that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have had Simone and no Musgrave Gin.  Musgrave is the top seller at Makro Stores here in South Africa and the second largest artisan Gin in South Africa.

Simone has been in the food industry quite some time and made her passion for Gin tangible into two successful products namely Musgrave 11 Botanicals and Musgrave Pink Gin Botanicals.  Musgrave 11 has been crafted with 11 African botanicals to make it an exceptional Gin with notes of Cardamom, Ginger and Grains of Paradise.

Musgrave Pink Gin Botanicals is a less spicy and more floral Gin with notes of rosewater and gives you a Turkish Delight memory along the way. Spectacular I must say.  Add some ice and garnish lavishly with herbs, Basil, strawberries, thyme as you wish.  The sky is truly the limit to customise your Gin experience to suit your own taste.

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Packaging of the Musgrave11 & Musgrave Pink Gin

Both of their Musgrave products retail roughly around R300 a bottle and is well worth it.  From the lovely masculine packaging of the Musgrave11 to the soft floral packaging of Musgrave Pink Gin, Musgrave is a feast to your eyes and taste buds.  We can surely conclude that there is a lot of Gin out there, and then there is Musgrave Gin or shall I say, the world of Musgrave!