Explore.

 

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Sunday Brunch in Kirstenbosch with Florentine and Rupert’s family

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I call this home Hogwarts. ūüėÄ

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Spring blossom in Stellenbosch

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Brekkie date at Schoon de Companje. Had missed this so much after meditation!

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Beautiful Summer breeze at our back garden

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First lunch with wifey at Long Table

 

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Beach day and stand up paddling at Clifton with Satu and Rupert

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Hydrating watering can ūüėČ

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First stop of First Thursday at HQ

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We found the perfect spot for sundowner

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Trying to choose between salted peanut butter and chocolate spread…

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Introducing Schoon de Companje to Satu. We went again the next morning. ūüėÄ

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Wining and lunching at Ernie Els

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Could spend an entire here learning about the wine making process…

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Hidden Valley

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My car & I vol X

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Seafood at Blues in Camps Bay

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Barre deserves its own post

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Brekkie at N√ľ

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Sunday sunset falling against Chapman Peak at Hout Bay

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Lunching at Groot Constantia. Lovely wine estate, though we agreed that this particular wine did not have enough personality ūüėČ

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Haiku. This was my third time and I cannot appraise this restaurant enough. Must try when in Cape Town.

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Oranjezicht market in Granger Bay. Mecca for every Saturday morning for me. Fresh & local food lover’s paradise.

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Hangover cure for day after wine touring ;D

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Wifey’s favourite spot at home

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World Sevens Rugby Cup at Cape Town stadium

Seasons are the opposite to Europe’s here and thus the South African Summer falls from November to February. Our MBA graduation took place few weeks ago, which officially meant the start of vacation. Though my biggest project here is only starting – few papers to hand in and thesis to finish –¬†I’ve¬†taken some time to enjoy the Summer time with my dear visitor.

After the graduation night out and Sunday in Kirstenbosch, I had couple of days time to start my papers and get back on track with sports. It was then time for 10 days of meditating, which was far away from vacation though. ūüôā Then it was time to pick up wifey from airport. We’ve had a lot of fun as always and she has seen a lot of Cape Town and Stellies during the past weeks, so I consider myself a decent host. I also got to check something out of my bucket list when Rupert invited us to Sevens Rugby World Cup on Saturday. Though Sevens is not traditional rugby, ¬†I’m now a bit more sophisticated in this regard. We’ve also developed an addiction to Thai Panang beef coconut curry at Haiku, developed our business ideas further and got some new ones, done best barre workouts ever, surfed in varying conditions, witnessed breathtaking African sunsets… And beyond.

Today is Satu’s last day. I’m soon waking her up, doing a quick yoga, introducing my favourite breakfast spot in Cape Town to her, and then taking a history lesson at¬†District Six Museum. Then it’s time to take her to the airport and for me to drive to Stellies to pack my last stuff and officially move out. The next five days I’m dedicating for WORK. I’ve missed working. And working out of course. Want to get back on track with meditating, yoga and barre.

xxxx

Wine and friends make a great blend

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My three greatest food indulges are chocolate, coffee and red wine. The quality makes all the difference. Luckily South Africa is passionate about all these three so exploring has been easy and satisfying.¬†Wine is such an fascinating¬†topic, I’d happily do an entire masters degree of wines. In South Africa, I have mostly done practical research. ūüėČ I’ve found pinotage, a red wine grape, South Africa’s signature variety. It typically includes earthy and smoky flavours, and has often been a safe choice with dinner. My favourite red wines here so far are Rust En Vrede’s.

We spent few days touring the wine estates with Satu. Lunch at Long Table restaurant at Haskell wine estate was delicious and peaceful, next to endless vineyards. For few moments, I could swear that Woody Allen was lunching next to us… Our favourite wine estate however was Ernie Els, with its stunning views, beautiful airy architecture, white wines, lunch burgers and simply great vibes. We also visited Hidden Valley – scenic but the estate was too modern for our taste. We also visited Delaire Graff – beyond beautiful and worth a visit. I’d happily dine at Indochine, their Asian inspired restaurant, but the main restaurant did not seem cozy at all. I’ve visited Tokara couple of times – beautiful but nothing too special.

In Cape Town we did a wine tour in Constantia on our tourist day (driving around the city with the hop on hop off bus ūüėÄ ). I was positively surprised – I did not have too high expectations as Stellenbosch does take the title of best wine estates. We only had time to have lunch at Constantia Groot and visit Constantia Beau. Both were beautiful – Groot is bigger and thus slightly touristy, but cozy and the restaurant was idyllic as well. Beau’s tasting room and restaurant is on a hill. Go for sushi or enjoy wine at the terrace overlooking the valley of Constantia.

 

In conclusion, my recommendations for wine estates in Stellenbosch:

Rust En Vrede: great wines, scenic and classy and beautiful architecture, good steak lunch and lovely outdoor restaurant

Ernie Els: great wines, lunch and stunning views, beautiful architecture

Delaire Graff: luxurious, beautiful and well maintained surroundings, views over Stellenbosch all the way to Cape Town

Constantia Beau and Groot in Cape Town

Vergelegen in Somerset West: prestigious, beautiful surroundings and historic atmosphere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Summer

 

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No words for this.

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New look.

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Kirstenbosch botanical garden and exploring Hout Bay

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Exploring new hoods… De Waterkant is full of cozy shop and cafes

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Neighbourgoods Saturday Market in Old Bisquit Mill

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Surfing at Big Bay, our coach already in the ocean

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My car & I. Driving to Lladudno beach.

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It‚Äôs been a week since I got a special delivery from home: wifey. Though I‚Äôve loved to be the only Finn around and not talking Finnish in months, I had missed company of someone who knows me inside out and can have talks about life and future. ūüėČ

 
We had our first lunch at Long Table at Haskell. Perfect spot for long catch up lunch overlooking¬†vineyards with burger and wine. The next day we drove down to Cape Town for beach and first Thursday. 1st Thursday takes place once a month – art galleries, restaurants, bars and street pop up shops welcome people for art, design, food and partying. It was my first time and we loved it! We met up with Rupert for cocktails at HQ and ran into other friends there as well. Such a cool vibe restaurant/bar where we ended up for steaks the next day. We then started exploring art and design popping into art galleries and shops. The streets were full of¬†people and the city felt more alive than ever. ūüôā We had burgers for dinner at Latitude 33, and found an pearl upstairs, a shop full of discounted Australian clothes, perfect for the summer in Cape Town. I finally¬†found a white dress!

 
Friday we started off with a vinyasa class and breakfast at Skinny Legs, another discovery¬†from the previous night. Super fresh food and interior.¬†Later we drove to Llandudno beach, which is my¬†favourite close to town, such beautiful scenery with huge rocks and mountains surrounding you, and not as packed as Clifton and Camps Bay. Later, we wanted to enjoy the sunset and my new lovely roommate gave us a million dollar tip. Few minute drive and we found the most stunning spot just below Lion‚Äôs Head, overlooking Camps Bay‚Ķ The African sunset overlooking Cape Town is simply one of the most beautiful moments you can experience, if you ask me. Later steaks at HQ – good but I’ll stick to Hussar grill and Carne. ūüôā

On Saturday we hit Neighbourgoods Marker at Old Bisquit Mill in Woodstock. Love this market! We also ran into most of my friends still in town ūüėÄ This market serves all kind of food you can hope for and some local designers have their shops there as well. We then hit the beach again, to Bloubergstrand. Though waves were lame, was so nice to surfing after too long time. Satu had not surfer since our excursion to Portugal few years ago but she did well.¬†We found Arne from the water and he had the honour to help us catch the waves ūüėČ
On Sunday morning we took a barre class close to my new home in Green Point. What a workout! I feel so lucky that we found this studio, this sport is everything I hope of my workout. At least body wise, mind will still need more meditation. ¬†We also found N√ľ from downstairs, a healthy fast food restaurant perfect for breakfast, lunch or grabbing a juice.

 
We then drove to Kirstenbosch, the botanical gardens. Such a beautiful, peaceful place. Go here for a romantic, peaceful picnic, next to the mountains and above the city. On Sundays you might get jazz tunes for background music. Take the top gate instead of main gate.

 
After enjoying the sun we drove down to Hout Bay for a pool party. The drive from Kirstenbosch to Hout Bay, like many others in Cape Town, feels like from another world. Also while waiting for Arne we wondered to Sandy Bay beach and were stunned by the landscape. How can you find such a remoted ¬†untouched place so close to a city? I find myself asking questions about the nature and evolution every day and wishing I concentrated more on geology classes. Thank god for Google. Anyway, we went to a pool party on Hout Bay hills,¬†a village that looked like a hobbit land, and the terrace facing Chapmans Peak. What a scenic day and great ending for the week. We drove back to Stellenbosch as Monday was dedicated for admin and deadlines. Hope my visitor enjoyed her first days ‚̧

Meditation, because some questions cannot be answered by Google

I‚Äôm about to do one of the craziest things in my life. ūüėČ It‚Äôs time to put all the theoretical knowledge of emotional and spiritual intelligence I‚Äôve gained through teachers and by doing research, into practise. For the next 10 days, I will be focusing on being present and accepting things the way they are.

I’m highly fascinated about Buddhism and body mind connection. As I cannot travel to India right now, what better way to discover more about myself and the ancient technique of Vipassana than here in South Africa. The timing is perfect as I am about to close some chapters in my life and opening new ones. I feel like it is time to reflect and ask myself, what is my next vision and purpose. Also, I am hoping to develop my weaknesses

I also love to challenge myself. 10 days sitting still, without any devices, communication and connection with other¬†people, doing¬†sports or dinner is definitely making this one of the biggest challenges of my life so far. Can’t wait to see how I feel after!

“Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an¬†Art Of Living. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.”

Let my personal Eat Pray Love journey go on the next level (this is the same thing Liz did in India).

xxx

PS. Vipassana courses are taught all around the world. I think closest centre to Finland is somewhere in Sweden… The course is donation based which means it is anything but commercial. Many people keep coming back, I’ve read about people who have been going for 15 years.

Garden Route

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Since first time planning my time in South Africa, I knew I need to go the Garden Route. Thus I was happy that my visitors from Finland and Sweden wanted to do it as well. As an extra bonus, they had planned everything very well (I’m the last one to plan anything in advance). Also, I got to drive a 20 years more modern version of my Mercedes for couple of weeks ūüėČ I had told my parents that surely we can all five use my car to do the Garden Route. Well, they changed their mind when driving couple of days in Cape Town with my car with no air con and falling pieces inside the car.
Our first stop was Hermanus, where we stayed in a gorgeous guesthouse by the sea. We were really lucky with whale watching, getting a private show from the huge animals, surrounding our boat for over an hour. I knew they are huge yet I was surprised by their size.
Next stop was Plettenberg Bay. Here we had the most amazing seafood lunch ever, at the Fat Fish. Be sure to go there if you are ever around.¬†We spent the last night in Knysna, in the most stunning villa on top a of a hill, called Head over Hills retreat. Let the photos speak for themselves… This is a place where I would happily spend my honeymoon…. Wink wink for whom it is more relevant. ūüėČ

I am happy I’ve seen Garden Route now. Especially the whale watching was an memorable experience. However, I must say that¬†I know how to appreciate the coziness, liveliness and beauty of Stellenbosch and Cape Town even more now, that I have seen a large part of the country. I could not be happier to be home now, riding my bike to the campus and cafes. Go to gym and yoga, share meals with friends (starting tomorrow!)… Normal life feels good after all the traveling. xxx

Summer cleanse, let’s do this!

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October is coming to an end, which has been a hectic (the most common Afrikaans word :D) travel-wise for me. Last time I‚Äôve been¬†sleeping¬†in so many different places was on Asia backpacking trips. People who know me also know that I love healthy food and being active every day, thus I‚Äôve occasionally missed my normal life while on the road. During the road trip across the country, we too often ate our meals as snacks in the car. I ate¬†more milk chocolate than in years, white bread and a lot of processed food in lack of options. Then my parents arrived and eating since has been completely¬†opposite; big¬†breakfasts, ¬†huge seafood and steak dinners, milky coffees and chocolate brownies. Even thinking about all the amazing food we’ve had makes me happy ūüôā but I am more than happy to invite more stable November to come. I feel¬†slightly¬†sluggish mentally and physically, which is why I am dedicating November to mindfulness and well-being, besides finalising¬†my uni semester.

I always wanted to do a juice cleanse and can’t think of a better time or place than here in Stellenbosch, not that the Summer has arrived as well. I ordered a 5 day cleanse for Juice Revolution and started off this morning. I‚Äôve now been on juices for few hours and can already feel a slight headache‚Ķ My coffee lover cells are mad I guess ūüėȬ†Since I started spontaneously and the 5 days are in between my parents visit and a planned dinner on Wednesday, I could not stick to a vegetarian diet three days before and after, as I could not help myself eating lamb shank for dinner last night ūüėÄ Oh well, 5 days is plenty of time for my body to cleanse. I wanted to keep myself motivated by doing some research on the benefits of a cleanse:

1)¬†Rest the stomach.¬†For the tens of millions of people who are on acid-suppressing drugs — and for older folks who often don’t produce¬†enough stomach acid — making the stomach work less to extract nutrients can be a huge benefit.

2)¬†Rest and repair the gut.¬†Toxic foods (including saturated fats, refined carbs, foods with additives, pesticides and allergenic foods), taking medications (such as¬†antibiotics or antacids), and even stress can impair the intestine’s functioning. There can easily be an imbalance in the gut microbiome (flora and fauna balance) as well as actual breaks in the intestinal barrier (“leaky gut”) — allowing substances into our bodies that should not get a free pass. Consuming a phytonutrient-dense rainbow plant-based juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the intestine — consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense food helps to repair the gut itself.

3)¬†Rest the liver.¬†The liver is our main detoxifying organ. Every molecule of food that is absorbed through the intestinal wall (fiber is not absorbed) moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. Problem is, there are too many toxins for most of our livers to handle — with many passing unchecked into the general circulation to wreak havoc in distant cells. An organic juice cleanse rests the liver’s overload.

4)¬†Reduce your appetite.¬†Juicing doesn’t really shrink the stomach — although it feels like it does. Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satiated with less food than usual. This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits.

5)¬†Ease food decision-making.¬†Juicing focuses on consuming fresh whole food produce every few hours — and reduces the enslavement of thinking constantly about what the next meal is going to be. Not only do we feel sated, but realize we are no longer slaves to our addictions with (often very harmful) foods.

6)¬†Eliminate harmful foods.¬†The juice cleanse eliminates dairy, wheat, gluten and fermented foods from the diet (as well as coffee and alcohol). In my experience, the majority of patients over 40 are relatively insensitive to wheat. Being off this — and other common trigger foods for a period — then reintroducing them can help define what foods are causing our body problems.

7)¬†Floods our body with super nutrition.¬†Being on an all-produce diet gives us not only the vitamins and minerals but the all-important¬†phytonutrients that are powerhouses for the clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods — and retain nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes.

9) Lose weight. As you are feeling better and having more energy, you also naturally lose weight. Some of this is water bloat, but also some is fat.

9)¬†Improve energy.¬†After the first day’s adjustment period (mostly missing crunching, and any coffee/alcohol cessation symptoms), most people begin to feel much more energy and clarity (by consuming only fresh juices) than they ever did with frequent caffeine drinks.

10) Rehydrate the body. Drinking sufficient fluids (5-6 glasses/day) makes the body function more efficiently, increases energy (often successfully removing the afternoon blahs/brain fog), and helps insure proper elimination of toxins.

11)¬†Reduce physical problems.¬†You begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas. Too much of the time our body is fighting off the things we do to it (especially with food — but also with lack of sleep, inactivity and stress).

12)¬†Allow maximum detoxification.¬†To optimally support all phases of the body’s natural detox process, you need a very broad range of plant-supplied nutrients like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. By providing the body with super-nutrient dense foods juicing allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.

13) Heal our cells. Switching to an organic plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reducing some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.

Source

Yes please! I also found several arguments against juice detoxing, thus like many other things in life, you have to try it yourself to see how it affects on you. It will not be easy 5 days for sure, but I also take this as a way to challenge myself and see that I can do this. Have you guys ever done a cleanse? Would you like me to tell more on how it goes?

Vacay continues

¬†As funny as it afterwards¬†sounds, after three weeks on the road, coming back to Stellie felt magical. I wish I remembered every day to appreciate the little things that felt so good this night – the Summer breeze outside,¬†taking a shower in own bathroom, squeezing PJ out of breath, waking up next to your¬†special person next morning… I even saw my room through new eyes.¬†It is only when you come¬†back and realise¬†how much you take for granted¬†ūüôā
Though I’ve known this for years, I got a good reminded that I am a city girl by heart. I do love exploring untouched¬†nature and being close to the beach, but it’s cities where¬†I feel most alive and inspired. While driving, I often caught myself daydreaming about living or at least visiting New York or¬†Hong Kong again soon. Also I spent a lot of time thinking how I want my life in Helsinki to look like whenever I go back. But, first I’ll focus making most out of my time in Stellie and later¬†in¬†Cape Town. I hope to move there in December and could not be more excited.
Anyway,¬†next¬†morning it was time to head to Cape Town to welcome my visitors to South Africa. We met at Mount Nelson where my parents and my godmother and her husband were already¬†sophisticatedly sipping high tea ūüėÄ A bit too fancy for me, but gorgeous pastries they had indeed.¬†My two restaurant recommendations are Blues at Camps Bay for seafood and Black Sheep at Kloof Street. Everything has always been divine but the ostrich fillet & chocolate brownie is what brings me back to this place. People who know me well understands if I say that my relationship with this restaurant is comparable to Pastor in Helsinki… Always good vibes, food and service. We were lucky for have PJ join us for dinner, I knew my parents would love her as well. ūüėÄ
Next few days we spent in Stellies, I sent the visiting team to vineyards. I made a comeback to gym, finalised uni work and cuddled as much as possible before hitting the road again. On Saturday morning, we headed towards Hermanus for whale watching. And that’s only the first stop of our Garden Route trip. I think its safe to say this October is the most kilometre heavy so far.
Some highlights past week
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Rust En Vrede lunch. The steak and red wine combo is divine and the scenery and interior design is simply beautiful
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Grabbing a fresh juice after too long break
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Hitting the gym felt soooo good
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Endless chocolate brownies in the search of a challenger¬†for Black Sheep’s one
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Live Bait at Simonstown. We had the most amazing fresh seafood lunch here. The interior reminds me of Hamptons and you can sit at the window by the Ocean and spot seals having a nap on the rocks
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Observing how penguins spend their days at Boulder’s Beach
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We spent few nights in Camps Bay (I can 100% recommend Atlantic Bay Suites for accommodation, simply the cosiest guesthouse with beautiful rooms, breathtaking view, perfect location, and great breakfast. I hope I have a chance to go back there). I fell for this area even more now that I had a chance to explore it better. The combination of Lions Head and Twelve Apostles mountains, the ocean, gorgeous neighbourhoods and nice beach town vibes make it my favourite area in the Mother City.
xxx