One of the things you’ll know about having kids is that life very quickly becomes all about them! You, and your relationship, end up falling quite far down the list of priorities for a few months, and often much longer than that! Of late I have been trying to make a few changes to how things work in our family and one of these has been spending a bit more time with my husband for a change! Date nights in our house appear bi-weekly in my calendar, and have done for some time, but that is as far as they get…. organizing a babysitter, making a reservation and mustering up the energy on a Friday night just don’t happen unfortunately.
Chatting to girl friends at a recent bookclub about how we can rectify this universal problem, it was mentioned that in fact Date Nights don’t even have to be that!! Yes, Date Nights can become Date Days or Afternoons or Mid-week Breakfasts or even Weekends Away. The idea is to just spend time together and that doesn’t have to be sitting across from each other in a restaurant! Another tip that I thought was really great was the idea of doing something FUN together, preferably something you used to do in your dating years. The idea of having fun together as a couple is something I really liked. Laughter and shared memories are two of the best ways to bond and reconnect, so I decided to put some thought into what it was that we once enjoyed. Not being particularly outdoorsy or sporty myself there aren’t many sport or adventure related activities that came to mind, although these are great options if you are that way inclined. (Maybe I need to take up Mountain Biking?? Eeeeeek!)
After some thought I realized that one of OUR favourite ways to spend time together when we were dating and newly married was to take weekend trips or day outings. We still try to do this with our kids but obviously the outcome is rather different, so I decided to scan the internet for some great accommodation deals in Cape Town and book us in for a weekend away. It took a few weeks to find the perfect deal but eventually I came across one for a 2 night stay in Franschhoek including breakfast for under R1000 which I thought was an amazing offer. All that was left to do was book each set of grandparents for a night and co-ordinate the handover…
This past weekend we headed off on our mini-break to visit South Africa’s little slice of France. The last time we stayed in this pretty village was when our youngest (now 3 and a half) was in utero so we were looking forward to spending some time here again, and, of course, some uninterrupted time together.
We headed off on the N1 at dusk and loved having a peaceful car – the 45 minute drive allowed us plenty of time to talk and catch up on all those conversations we never get around to finishing. We arrived at Klein Olifants Hoek Boutique Hotel in the rain and were greeted by a huge, roaring fire and a few of the resident cats! We were shown around the guest house, previously an old school, which was decorated with comfortable and traditional furnishings and then as we had eaten before we left, we headed up to our room to relax while watching a DVD from the comfort of our King sized bed listening to the rain outside. It was amazing!
The weather didn’t really play along for a weekend of exploring but we decided to head out anyway the next morning to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the valley. After exploring some undiscovered roads, we stopped off to browse around a very interesting shop stocked with beautiful old furniture and vintage finds. Then it was time for some wine tasting next to the fire at Vrede en Lust wine estate. We spent ages tasting and talking. So much to catch up on!
After a quick bite of lunch it was time for AN AFTERNOON NAP. And that was totally worth the cost of the entire weekend if you ask me! Some more chilling out followed and then it was time for supper… As we were in the Franschhoek we knew it was the perfect time to sample one of the top restaurants in South Africa – Reuben’s.
Our last minute booking meant we were set to sit near the kitchen but were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves moved to the more intimate part of the restaurant. We enjoyed our delicious Roasted cured pork belly with sesame greens, mushrooms, pommes puree, chilli-lime and ginger caramel main meal immensely. Usually we order different things on the menu so we can sample each others but I’m so glad we ordered the same dish as it was worth every bite and there was no way I was going to share any of it! What we did do was share a dessert of Amarula Malva Pudding – usually quite tricky for us – but we had just been talking about making better decisions with our food intake so it was the perfect time to put our words into action. The problem with visiting restaurants you have heard about is that you always arrive with expectations and often these are not met… and we did find our waitress to be not particularly friendly, maybe it was because we weren’t the big spenders she was hoping to serve – however the manager, Ryan, was very helpful! We also found that the ambience was just a bit lacking too which might have been due to the choice of music and quite bright lighting or the high ceilings which made one feel exposed and didn’t create an intimate atmosphere. That being said the quality of the food was why we were there and we were not disappointed in the slightest with our choices.
The next morning we hit the road fairly early in order to get back to the kids for at least some of the weekend (and relieve tired grandparents) what was great was that our 40 hours of peace and quiet meant that we had actually MISSED THEM. A very nice feeling for a change! I can highly recommend the occasional weekend away as a couple as a wonderful way to build into your marriage. I’m certainly hoping to make it a regular occurrence so will be booking our next trip for 6 months time very soon.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter