~Written and edited by Veronica Clark ~

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas to All!!!

Hello Dear Friends!!!
My wish for Christmas is simple....
and ...
 to All my family, friends, followers and readers!

Let there be peace on earth....and let it begin with ME...
Blessings and Love to all.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

By Invitation Only ~ The Best Christmas Ever!

A Festive Hello to one and all!
It seems impossible that a year has flown and that we are all decorating for Christmas again, scurrying about in the kitchen and shopping up a storm!!
I confess that it sometimes seems a mad dash back and forth, but alas, I love, love it all to bits! Some days you collapse in a tired bundle and think...why the craziness, but, it only lasts for a lil bit and you good to go, adrenaline pumping!! You all know the vibe...
It is our "Feast de Resistance" at "By Invitation Only" hosted by beautiful Marsha Splenderosa

It seemed hard to top last year's post but the grand lady came up with a lovely topic. We had to tell you about our best Christmas Ever, or a Fantasy Christmas and include a tangible gift that we would give! Quite a story... So, my post will be a mixed bag!
I am fifty years old but at Christmas I am like a kid!! And of course, Christmas music is all around ...this is a favourite...


Of course, there is no snow here as we are in the middle of summer and December is... sand, sea and sun for us! I would love to experience a Christmas in a snowy location! It looks soo romantic...
For us, Christmas starts with a family picnic in the splendid setting of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens around the 16 th Dec to join thousands of Cape Tonians for Carols by Candle Light!

Many international artists have performed here and proclaim it to be the most stunning stage in the shadow of Teddy Bear Mountain! It is a magical setting..
We arrive early and usually have various Marimba bands for entertainment until the sun sets.

 A luscious picnic is carried by all and traditionally includes Fig Salad ! Salmon Gradvalax which I cure for three days, strawberries, a variety of cheese, baguettes, chocolates and lots of bubbly to fuel the singing !!

Two years ago on the very day of our picnic, my son, Byron, thought it appropriate to break his little toe!!! Mid preparations I had to rush him to hospital and the, now legendary toe had to be set! Much panic ensued, as he is a dancer and it had to be straight! We waited to see if surgery would be needed but thankfully all was fine!
This did not deter us and here he is with my gorgeous daughter Jacquie after a slow and arduous trek of 45 minutes, aided by his big sister, from the car to our picnic spot, in good cheer and they are singing their hearts out!!!

It is such a magical moment when the crowd, here, about twelve thousand strong, waves their candles and breaks into Silent Night....goose bump stuff....

The time leading up to Christmas, after the Carols is spent in holiday mode in our splendid Mother City, Cape Town, where there is so much to do and see!!! We are so incredibly blessed to be here...

At home we decorate a few trees to dot around the house. I ususally do one on my own for the formal lounge. A fresh Pine branch is decorated by the family after Christmas Carols. We love the house filled with its fragrance.
I also started a tradition whereby, I have a tree that takes up to Christmas to decorate. Everyone who visits House Tassels during December, gets to hang something on the tree and by Christmas it looks splendid!

Christmas Eve is when we ususally had our extended family celebrations, and when I was married, I entertained the family to a formal three course dinner that included all the trimmings for around forty people!
Now, the best Christmas I have ever had and also my absolute fantasy...
A few years ago, we decided to do a camping trip through the Kruger National Park! Now, doing a trip like this in December is pure craziness as it is often 45 C Degrees plus with almost 100 percent humidity. Not for the fainthearted!!! But, we did it!!!!
We started at the South end of the park and moved our very large family tent, no less than seven times, to different camps! The reason why, was that we wanted to see the newborn animals. Sadly, I do not have pictures to post!!! But can you just imagine for a moment... those stuffed little giraffes, lion cubs, little zebras and buck come to life! Cute lil warthogs scurrying about with their taught little tails erect, like mini antennas! Loads of ooohsss and aaahs emanated from our car. Little elephants being shooed along with mammas trunk, the matriarch keeping an eye on us, making sure that the brood is save!
We packed all our Christmas Presents and a tiny little Christmas tree in!! Can you believe it!!
On Christmas eve, we were camping in Satara towards the north of the Kruger Park. A very rustic camp. We arrived, pitched the tent and sorted our camp site. We were only staying for one night at this location, but, that did not deter us from putting up our Christmas tree and everyone put
their gifts under the tree. There was a storm brewing... as the sun set, dark ominous clouds rolled in and lightning lit up the sky! It was unbearably hot and this camp did not even have a pool, so, we took cold showers every so often to cool ourselves. The fire was lit for the evening braai (BBQ) and we battened down the tent in preparation of the storm!

As night fell, a full moon overhead, lightning lit the sky and the sound of thunder was punctuated by the locals drums, in the distance, with the village signing Christmas Carols in their mother tongue. As if, on cue, a pride of lions, who is always close at Satara roared .... My daughter, Jacquie turned around, she was about sixteen at the time, and said... " Mom, it doesn't get any better than this, does it?" I turned to her and said... " No, darling it doesn't!!" This is a real Christmas in the bush close to all the wonderful creatures that God has blessed us with here at the Tip of Africa!!!
It was my magical Christmas Moment and one that I do not think can ever be topped! 
The one tangible gift I would give....
Over here in Cape Town, our local radio station KFM, runs a Christmas Wish program. If you know someone with a need, any thing at all, you can send  the story to KFM and they might make it happen. The person who is given the "gift" is rung live on radio and informed that their friend has told them, that for instance, they wanted to study to be a nurse but could not afford it! And then, they are told that their wish has come true!! It is usually in the morning during rush hour traffic and we have seen grown men moved to tears in the traffic!! People's houses who have burnt down has been given new ones, much needed surgery has been given for free by doctors, etc , etc... Read more here
I would love to be the one to give someone a reunion with their father/mother or family memeber that they have not seen in twenty years!
There will be so many wonderful posts for you to read and be part of , so  hop over to Splenderosa to share in the magic!
Thank you for your precious company!
I wish each and every one of you a magical Christmas!
May this be the one that would top all others in the memory department!!
Sending you all, much love and good Christmas Cheer!
Live Well and make Memories
Please regale me with a comment below....I am all ears...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Amazing Outdoor "Rooms"

Hi Dear Friends!!
Summer is officially making herself at home in Cape Town and the best place to be in this Magic City of ours, is of course, outdoors!!!
It made me want to visit some of the amazing outdoor rooms on my Pinterest Board ~ Outdoor Rooms!

This luscious space was created by Tony Duquette ! I can see us having a tropical dinner here. How about those ginger jars? Are you taking it all in? Well, hop over here (click please) to see more of this designer, but be warned it will take a while to get through each room!
While you look through those rooms, I am going to take my Bubbly and head down here...
This might just be "The Mother of All "Outdoor spaces I have ever had the pleasure of drooling over!! Who needs to go home? Its all here!! Imagine how romantic this is at sunset....
For a bit of solitude and a good read with a cuppa...this little nook will do nicely, thank you!
Autumn colours, and of course I am sold!!
Add figs to the table, wine and bread and we have a party!!
This setting is every inch "Me"
I am putting this on my "Outdoor To DO" list!!!
For my next home, I want a mirror outdoors, surrounded by a Ticky Creeper!!
I have had my eye on the that console table for years and saw a similar one in a local store! Of course, I felt that I was scaling down and where would I put it??? But, voilà, problem solved!! Outdoors, of course!!
And, of course we all love those altar candlestick lamps...
Green and gorgeous! Are you looking at the lantern?
Thought so! The contrasting grey conifers is a genius touch!
Such an elegant space.

More lantern love going on here... a tranquil space with trickling water...

An open invitation to curl up with a pile of my favourite mags and to relax to the max....

I just adore the texture and colour of the stone and my Labrador, Smirnoff, will fit into the colour scheme perfectly! We are already snoring in acapella...

 Black and White and Trés Chic!

A stunning chandelier is the focal point of this amazing room! A most swoon worthy setting indeed. Add a lantern, beautiful tables, stone, beams and a magnificent garden and we are in love!

Evocatively Provencal and can you just dream about what's on the menu....

What an exquisite lil nook to snip and arrange flowers in, sit down with drink and admire your handy work...

Before I post the whole Pinterest Board on Outdoor Rooms, hop over and peruse the rest of them for yourself!
Live Well
Please let me know which one was your favourite in the comment box below...
All images are from Pinterest

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My New Blog !!! Pink Bra Bubbles Tablescape!!!

Hello Dear Ones!!!!
Greetings to you from a cool Cape Town!! We have had a respite from the heat and some welcome rain today! How are you all doing?
I also have a fabulous Spring Tablescape lined up for later, which includes a Bra (yessss, ladies!!! you heard it) and Bubbles...so stay tuned and keep scrolling, you will love it!!!

I will be joining Susan from Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday! Hop over to get inspired!
But first...
I have finally taken the plunge and sorted out my food blog!!!
Drum roll please for....

Thank you!!!
But I can hear some of you muttering... It's about time!!!
Yip, it has taken a while to take the plunge and as you know I have not posted many recipes and you have asked why not!!! Why was I neglecting the Tastebuds bit of Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds?
Well, I just struggled to find a name to tie in with the "Tastebuds" bit of the title!
So, why a separate blog for food?
Well, as I explain in my opening post ,( please click here to read it) I wanted to join the SA Foodblogger's roll and they declined my application as my blog did not exclusively contain food related posts! Perfectly understandable and so I started the search for a suitable name!

 I will be posting some of the old recipes that I have already posted in Tassels, but will obviously include new ones as well. When posting to Tidbits for Tastebuds , I will mention it in my post on Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds and that way you won't miss out!!
So far I only have three posts, the intro mentioned above, and then I kicked off with my favourite recipe, namely Fig Salad Please Click Here for that post!

And the other post was on Light and Luscious Hake, please click to read that one. It's easy and perfect for a quick week night dinner or lunch.

 I will add foodie blogs to my blogroll and tinker with it until it is ship shape, but in the meantime we can at least cook together as well as garden and decorate!!
Okay, so now that you are up to date and we are talking food, let have a peek at some Spring Tablescapes that I have had the pleasure of....
This gorgeously femine tablescape was at a Ladies Spring Event and obviously takes inspiration from Breast Cancer Month!
Take a peek...

It's such a happy and vibrant table, I simply loved it! It also won best table!
Take a closer look...

Wonderful, isn't it just!!
So gals, haul out your stash of fine lingerie and fishnet stockings and lets decorate some tables, shall we?
Don't you just adore the polka dot bubbly protruding from the polka dot bra!!

The goodie bags on each guest's chair was a work of art.

Yeah ladies, bring out the fishnets and have some fun!!
This little number was next to the table of delectable nibbles. Too sassy for words...!!!

Close attention to detail made for a feast for the eye, taste buds and sparked lively conversation and admiring gasps of delight as only a bunch of ladies all dressed up for tea can muster!!! The decibels went up, let me tell you!

The lil hats were just precious and oh so sassy!

Perfect presentation and the feminine touch carried through all the little details...

I spy mini cloches with a delectable delight....

The table setting from the other side with a floppy hat and feathery boa.

Thank you for your company!
Live Well
Please leave all the oohs and aahs below in the comment box.... I can hardly wait to hear your comments!


Monday, 12 November 2012

La Rive Revisited ~ Franschoek

Hi Friends!

How are you all? Did Monday behave herself?
It is that wonderful time of the year again, when I get to visit magnificent open gardens! This year I did not do as many as I did last year. I could not pass up a visit to the picture perfect town of Franschoek, though!
I revisited the enchanting Le Rive and as always, was captivated by the charm and perfection of it all!
Approaching from the street, I took this pic of the wonderful bench down by the stream... wait until you see it from the other side... it will take your breath away.... 

I ran into one of the owners, sitting just inside the gate, and he said that he was just being inconspicuous and enjoying the gasps of visitors as they entered through the gate to be greeted by this magnificent picture! 

It was a perfect day and I felt like lounging here in the shade the entire day gazing at the beauty.

The pastel planting of the English Country Style garden is so soothing and there was a new vista to greet my lens at every turn.

Some spectacular Bearded Irises, roses and pansies and many more makes for a breathtaking lesson in planting.

Looking back toward the entrance
in the corner. 

The attention to detail is quite exceptional.

The upper terrace ...

And... ta da!!!
Do you spot the bench in the distance that I mentioned at the beginning of this post?

Take a closer look...

I have seen this same scene many times before, and every single time it takes my breath away...
From the ground!
Yes, of course I had to get on my knees and tum to show you!!!

Looking back through the gate to the upper terrace...

A happy profusion! As I am writing this post, there is a vase with nasturtiums on my desk from a friend's garden and they are just a happy treat!

Long time readers will remember my post from last year on La Rive (please Click on link for more photos in that post). It remains one of my most visited posts and I still regularly receive wonderful emails about it from across the world!

I could not stay the entire day as there was ten gardens to get through, and some of them were on farms , so I had to leave this pretty picture behind!

Thank you for your company!

Live Well
Please leave all those gasps below in the comment box... I am all ears!
I will also upload some more pictures of La Rive on Facebook ~ See Sidebar of this blog for link to Facebook