Last week was my birthday and to celebrate I decided to spend some time seeing a few of my favourite people in some of my favourite places as spending time in my My Happy Places makes me very happy indeed!
While I was thinking along these lines I decided to write down a list of My Top 10 Happy Places so that I can refer back to it often, and obviously introduce you to the spots that make me smile.
Now that I’ve identified where they are I’m going to try and make it my mission to spend more time in these places… especially when I need to feel a bit more happiness in my life! In no particular order here are is a list of the spots around the world that fill my heart with gladness!
1. The Bush
After our recent holiday to the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve near the Kruger I was once again reminded about how much I love spending time in the unspoilt wilderness of the bush. For me nothing beats the beautiful silence and scenery for real soul cleansing! I also love the action and adventure of looking out for the next animal sighting and I love how each experience is so unique and memorable. I definitely need to do this more often!
2. Nature’s Way Farmstall, Nature’s Valley
Anytime spent in The Garden Route is a favourite of mine – from the moment I hit the N2 highway heading in it’s direction my heart is happy. And it always beats a little faster as we wind our way down to Wilderness. I love many places along this route but my favourite little spot is called Nature’s Way Farmstall. It holds a special place in my heart as it was a place we stumbled across one afternoon and it led to an unexpected encounter for us all – watching (and participating) in the milking of the cows. Now each time we head down to Plett for a holiday we make sure we visit at least 2 or 3 times during our stay. And, even though I don’t spend 2 hours in the milking shed like my son, I love sitting on the stoep with my hot chocolate watching the clouds roll over the Tstikamma mountains and breathing in the farm smells!
3. All forests
The lush green foliage and tall imposing trees of forests always remind me of spending time with my Gran who was a big fan of hiking in the mountains and forests of Cape Town. Thinking about my happy places has made me realise that I love spending time in forests and I definitely don’t do it enough! Something I’ve recently taken up (as in been once) is mountain biking. I’m not very good at ENJOYING exercise so this new pursuit is an attempt to get me on my bike, getting fit and having fun at the same time. I need to build up my fitness for sure but I’m hoping to soon be able to go for a ride in Tokai Forest and enjoy some parts of it that I’ve heard so much about but never seen for myself! Watch this space!
I love the quaint, pretty villages of the Western Cape and there are certainly many to choose from that would fill my happiness quotient but the village of Greyton is my favourite. I’ve only spent one or two nights there but I know it’s a place that I need to return to. I love the setting beneath the huge mountains, the gorgeous gardens, relaxed atmosphere and the very English countryside feeling to the place. If I was to ever own a weekend cottage in the country this would be my pick. Here’s hoping! For now I’ll be content with a few more weekends away to this charming town. P.S. I’m open for reviews 😉
5. Casa Labia, Muizenberg
Who wouldn’t want to spend time in a glorious mansion with a sea view? It’s the stuff dreams are made of, but for now I’m happy to spend more time enjoying a cup of tea at the beautiful Casa Labia. This former ambassadorial residence is now a museum/ art gallery and the kitchen serves light lunches and teas either in one of the stately rooms, in a quaint courtyard or on the patio overlooking the sea. It is situated between Muizenberg and St James looking over False Bay to the Hottentot Holland mountain range beyond – one of my favourite stretches of coastline. Another fave spot of mine is early mornings at St James beach looking out across the same view, which brings me to my next point – my favourite beach…
My other favourite tea spots include Buitenverwachting, Tasha’s, Little Streams and High Tea.
6. Nahoon Beach, East London
East London is where I spent the years form age 7 – 12 and so it has a special place in my heart. Most of my childhood memories are from the years spent here and one especially prominent favourite place in my memory is Nahoon Beach. As a family we spent many wonderful weekends with friends here – walking the beach, swimming in the river, climbing the sand dunes, searching the rock pools. It has such an amazing serenity to it and even though we don’t return very often I always try to visit a few times to soak in the natural beauty and calm my soul! Also any tropical beach anywhere features as a favourite of mine too – I’m not fussy about where as long as there is warm water and soft sand. Once again I’m open to reviews here 😉
7. Cray-fishing in Jacobsbaai on the West Coast
Although we have access to the most stunning little beach cottage located on the West Coast we are often so busy that we don’t get around to booking a few days away, which is really quite ridiculously when I think about how happy I feel once I’ve spent a few days there. One of my very favourite things to do while on the West Coast is cray-fishing with my husband. We take out the tiniest dingy boat you’ve ever seen and cram it full with nets and bait and bags for our haul – there is hardly any place for me! We have to launch off the beach which is always MUCH colder and wetter than I would like but once we’ve got past the breakers and put down a few of the nets I am in one of my happy places again – obviously that’s only if the sea is flat and calm. I love watching the gulls swoop around us waiting for any cast offs, the smells of the kelp and salty air and the thrill of pulling up the nets to discover if we’ve been successful. Unfortunately the season this last year was really short so our last trip was a bit of a disaster with not even one cray but I haven’t given up yet – here’s hoping next season will be more successful! Either way I still love a little bit of time on the sea – as long as dry land is in sight…
This is the country I’ve visited the most often (aside from living and working in the UK for 2 years) and as someone with a passion for Europe I adore all things Italian. One of our last holidays before returning to SA was a 2 week trip around the country and we visited Venice, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Cortona, Tuscany, Sorrento, Pompeii, Positano, Capri and Rome and then on a subsequent visit I also visited Milan, Bay of Poets, Cinque Terra and the Italian countryside and village surrounding Aulla. I have such fond memories of all of it – espcially the gelato! But my very favourite spot has to be Positano, one of the villages located on the Amalfi Coast. Whenever I see picture s of this pretty place I long for a return visit. We only spent 3 nights there which was definitely not long enough. I would love to spend a longer stretch one day so I can soak up more of the history and culture of the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
9. Anywhere I’ve never been before
To say I love traveling would be quite an understatement. I LOVE traveling. To me there is nothing better than hitting the open road for a road trip or even a day trip – all the better if we’re headed to a place I’ve never been before. Exploring and adventuring into the unknown is so exciting and I’m always keen to go somewhere new. I have a bucket list about a km long and I’m looking forward to ticking each place off. There are so many wonderfully unique places in this world – I could quite happily see somewhere new each time I go on holiday but then again I wouldn’t be able to go back to some of these favourites so I’ll have to strike a balance!
10. My Bed
And after all these amazing places I must still admit that one of my very favourite places is my very own bed – it’s super soft and comfortable – other bed’s never compare. There is nothing better than getting into bed early with a great book or new mag and a cup of tea! I definitely don’t do it often enough considering how happy it makes me!
So, what are you happy places – do you have 1 or many? Please do share them in the comments below so I can pay them a visit soon or sometime in the future – depending on their location!
I look forward to your comments and suggestions!!
Images: Kathryn Rossiter