Weekend roundup

I found this on Instagram over the weekend and it made me laugh. It is exactly how life should be:

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So my weekend was filled with a lot of awkward, some mucking about, a lot of awesome and even a lot of chilling.

It all started off with a last minute visit to my hairdresser on friday afternoon for a trim. SO….in November (and I still blame this on the crazy emotional time I was going through) I decided to completely change my hair. Essentially I gave my hairdresser free reign to do what every she wanted within 3 simple rules:

  • Remember I work in a very corporate environment;
  • You can play with the length all you want but please make sure i can still tie it up; and
  • Just show me a picture of your plan before you actually go ahead and do it.

She was super excited and I ended up with an angular long bob and a balayage. And I love it! The reason I had to go for a trim is because my hair grows SUPER fast and it had grown too long for the style and no longer hung nicely.  She ended up taking a bit more off too…so it’s still the same style just quite a bit shorter…which is taking me some time to get used to…but I love it none the less.

The chop was followed by drinks and snacks with my colleagues at the Slug & Lettuce.  We had a ton of fun and we ended up only leaving around 19:30 only. I proceeded to go and watch a movie at a friend’s house there after.   By this time I was in agony. (Let’s just travel back to 10am when i went for 5 difference vaccines shots for an upcoming work trip into Africa…Yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus, polio, Hep A&B, etc etc, etc). I was unable to lift my arms and by then i was unable to touch my arms and they were throbbing. By the time i got home i was in tears and my attempt to rub them with arnica oil (as advised by the nurse) ended in disaster as they were too painful to touch. Thankfully painkillers helped a lot!

Saturday morning was spent at a baby shower for a very special little boy who will be making his appearance in March. But this is where the awkward comes in. It was my ex’s sister’s baby shower. I know I know…you’re all thinking i’m completely mad for going….but here’s the thing. After the breakup his sister kindly contacted me to let me know that I’ve been her friend for so long that she desperately wants me to attend despite not dating her brother anymore. HOW COULD I SAY NO TO THAT?

His family has always been amazing….and I love them all dearly. I couldn’t say no…so I went. Her entire family (including my ex) was there. This i hadn’t quite expected. The family was super excited to see me and i was showered with hugs and chats and stories….heartwarming stuff really. Until i ran into my ex and we exchanged a really super awkward greeting. It was at this point that I decided that we weren’t 5. We weren’t angry. We didn’t hate each other and therefore I refuse to let the awkwardness rule whatever form of relationship we choose to have post breakup (i.e. whether we choose to ignore each other completely or eventually become friends). So I put on my big girl panties and went to have a chat to him. It was slightly awkward at first but as we started catching up the awkwardness faded completely.

But I realised one very important thing as I stood there. I don’t regret my decision to step away one bit. In fact…it served as confirmation that I absolutely, 100% made the right choice. And even more surprising was realising that there was absolutely no tug a my heartstrings while I spoke to him. I have moved on completely and I was in a much better place. It was as if my closure process had come full circle…and it’s amazing.

The baby shower was followed by mucking about with a mate taking silly, lame and completely chop like photos (See exhibit 1 below) and a movie marathon. It was awesome.

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EXHIBIT 1

Sunday was spent with family. I visited my aunt, uncle, cousins and godson and swapped stories (since I haven’t seen them since like October).  We’ve also come to realise that my godson LOVES the taste of my hands. He whines if i dare take my hands away and refuses to accept anybody else’s even when i’m not the one holding him. It was highly amusing really. Silly little boy…stolen my heart and now shares it with my two beautiful nephews.

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Speaking of which…how adorable are these two dashing lads in the epic snow they had last weekend?  There is no way to explain the love i feel for these two little boys who live so far away. There is NOTHING  i wouldn’t do to keep them safe and happy. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more insane it is when you’re a mother!

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On making choices

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So the facts are fairly simple….I haven’t blogged in a VERY VERY long time. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’m fairly certain I can link the lack of writing to the difficult and straining couple of months I’ve endured. There was no motivation or energy or wanting to blog…because who wants to chat to the world when your own personal world is filled with pitfalls and slowly falling apart.  This general lack of everything even made it’s way to my twitter profile where I have, without any doubt, been more quite than ever before, not to mention the lack of socializing with my friends.

The facts are that I’ve never been good at sharing my own emotions and struggles. For the most part i prefer keeping my cards close to my chest, fighting my own battles (emotionally and otherwise), helping others with their struggles and generally dealing with my own issues in my own way, in my own time and without any help from others. It’s not always the healthiest way to live life, but it’s what I’m good at. I’m good at compartmentalizing and generally shelving issues in my mind.

So this is not a “I’m trying to cope emotionally” or a “Please give me a hug I’m suffering” or a “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing“, or a “OhMiGosh what have I done” or even a “I’m trying to figure things out” type of post.  It’s more of an “FYI this happened and I’m OK with it” kind of post. A post of hope, a post that helped me realise I’ve made the best possible decision for me and others. A post about making healthy and positive choices and embracing them.

In the last 7 months I’ve been taking incredible strain personally.  The guy person went for a very serious operation in June (out of respect for him and his wishes I’m not really willing to share a lot of detail about this here). The operation and the time spent in hospital in itself was crazy stressful on him, on me and on us. Little did we know that this was only the start of it.

I didn’t realise it at first  but his entire personality had changed subsequent to the operation. So much so that by the time i finally realised what was going on I barely recognized the man I had grown to love insanely. We were struggling….I was struggling and taking huge emotional strain. And I dealt with it in the same way I always do. I shelved the emotions and focused on work. I put in an insane amount of billable time and kicked ass professionally (at least that part of my life wasn’t falling apart).

We eventually sat down for a serious talk in November when the truth finally hit me like a TRUCK. He had changed…a lot…we weren’t really working. We were always irritated and frustrated and i had stopped being myself around him. I was tense and unhappy and his moodiness and grumpiness had started affecting me in more ways than i could possibly imagine. We decided that we needed some space while he sought medical advice.

And it was during this “space” period where it dawned on me. Suddenly I was happy, I could BREATHE again, I could live and laugh and just be my usual carefree self. It was a really HARD thing to realise. I love this man, or rather I love the man he was, not the person he became. As such I started dealing with a “break up” without even breaking up with him and when I finally made an appointment to see him at the start of January to make it official we both knew it was the best decision for both of us.

Do I blame him? Most certainly not. This was not his fault or his choice…..but it is what it is and at some point I needed to make healthy decisions for me. I was caught in an unhealthy situation and I needed to get out.

Am I OK? More than. I realised very quickly that due to the 2 months of “space” we had, I had already emotionally dealt with the break up. I made the final decision in December already after having a long discussion with my parents (who know and love the guy person) and they agreed with me. I spent my December holiday making peace with this decision and realising that life goes on.

Do i feel like I quit on him? I must admit I struggled with this the most at first.  I felt like i was choosing to take the easy way out. Like i was quitting on him, on us and on everything we had built in the last 2 years.  But the simple facts that I have come to realise and which he himself reminded me of are as follows:  (a) This is not working (b) I fought hard for him and for us for 6 months, I didn’t take the easy out (c) I can’t fix the situation because it’s not within my control (d) It takes courage to walk away from an unhealthy situation.

So….after 2 years and many many happy moments I am single again. It’s a bit surreal. And it was hard walking away from the person that, till not so long ago I was convinced was my forever person.

The thought of going out and meeting people and going on dates and having to run the gauntlet of dating is quite frankly looking exhausting. And I suspect unless I meet someone in my day to day life as it is now I’ll probably be single for a while. But here is the important thing: I AM OK WITH THAT. 

I’ve always been quite happy to be single. I don’t need someone to complete me. I don’t need someone to enjoy my life, and I certainly don’t need another person to make me happy.

So 2016 has certainly started with a BIG BANG, but I certainly hope it’ll be better and happier than 2015.

Come dine with me…..

So this past weekend we took part in a “come dine with me”-like competition with another couple.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t originally consider it to be a bit of a silly idea, but as we got closer to the time and as we worked on our menu (which had to be submitted together the Wednesday before) I got super excited about the idea:)

So the two of us brainstormed and we also got a lot of input from other people, using some ideas and discarding others and this is what our final menu looked like:

Aperitif

Stuffed eggs with cayenne pepper

Wrapped Asparagus

Starters

Spicy butternut and bacon soup with a dash of cream and home-made buns

Main Course

Incredible baked lamb shanks on a bed of root vegetables with a fresh garden salad

Dessert

Decadent chocolate mousse with home-made vanilla ice cream and a berry coulis

Digestifs

Assorted coffee varieties

Assorted dessert wines

Looks super yummy right? Below is the menu submitted by the other couple:

FullSizeRenderWe were convinced that even just on menu alone we clearly already had the upper hand here. So Friday night came along and we happily went off to enjoy a night of fine dining and doing nothing. It was FABULOUS! The starter was pretty amazing,I won’t lie. They definitely scored major points on that. Camembert backed in white wine with rosemary and garlic served with cheesy breadsticks…..I would happily have eaten only that all night.

The mains included a rib eye steak braaied to absolute medium-rare perfection served with roasted potatoes, vegetable skewers and served with a berry sauce. It was good and hearty and scrumptious but, in my opinion, not a “come dine with me” style of meal.  Mains was followed by dessert which was mango slices covered in sweet cream and caramalised sugar. Pretty yummy, but once again not a fancy dessert. I’ll leave out the part where I tell you of all the yummy wines we had along with the meals….:P

And then, just like that, it was our turn. Our table was decorated to perfection with a beautiful Ruby themed bouquet of flowers and all the detailing being red and black and white….it was beautiful! We prepped everything so that when the time came we would just have to pop the various things in the oven to reheat or cook (depending on what it was) without leaving our guests unentertained for longer than just a minute or two at a time.

Upon arrival we served them some sherry to warm the cold bones followed by the Aperitif of stuffed eggs and bacon wrapped asparagus…an instant hit.  I secretly popped my rolls into the oven (home-made, as the rules specified) and as soon as the hot, fresh bread came out the oven it was time for the starter…..a spicy and bacon filled butternut soup with fresh buns. All the noms and just perfect for the cold weather. I paired the soup with a lovely Chenin Blanc from Beau Joubert which complimented the various tastes perfectly.

We proceeded to spend some time chattering away to give everyone a chance to rest in-between courses and to give us a chance to heat up all the food.  The break was just long enough to enjoy some more wine and to let the previous course settle and then we served the mains.  Guys…most of the work here was done by the guy person and he did an exquisite job. The lamb shank was falling off the bone and went so well with the creamy mash and vegetable bed it was cooked on. It was truly amazing and I paired it with a beautiful blended red and a Pinotage.

More rest time and wine drinking time was given, and then it was time for our dessert.  Home made ice cream and home-made chocolate mousse…..heavenly!  Our guests declined the Port and Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest on offer and opted to drink more wine, which was eventually followed by yummy Nespresso just before home time.

Then of course it was time for the scoring and OF COURSE WE WON! Did anyone EVER have any doubt? This means that we’ve got bragging rights for days and they also have to take us out to a restaurant for dinner:D

All in all a really fun and yummy weekend was had by all. I suspect we will be doing this again:)

#Gladiator

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No, this is not a post about Scandal or Olivia Pope or Instagram.  But this little phrase did teach me something.  The other night I was going through my Instagram feed and saw this gem posted by @Phumezamzai, lovely girl that she is.  And it hit home….I am a gladiator…more so in the last 5 weeks than before.

Now those of you who follow me on twitter would have been made aware of a recent hospital visit, an operation and a pretty long recovery process.  I was mostly quiet during the bulk of the hospital visit and even since then the details provided have been pretty sketchy.  It’s taken me a while to process it all, to get better and to be OK with putting pen to paper.  Beating the odds (for the second time in your life) does that.

It all started with an intense pain early saturday evening.  There we were peacefully watching a movie when all of a sudden I experienced a pain I was unable to pinpoint or describe.  The closest I got was “it feels like each of my organs are being individually squeezed by a vice grip“.  After much deliberation I managed to convince the guy person that the pain seemed to be easing (which it was) and I headed home, only to be flooded by wave upon wave of pain as it got later.  After vomiting for 4 hours I finally dragged myself to my car and drove to Netcare Sunninghill.  I’m not going to into a hell of a lot of detail about the casualty visit at 1am in the morning but what I will say is that I’m far from impressed.  I waited forever to be helped while I was quite clearly in agony, I was given a single disprin for the pain before the doctor indicated that I was being a wuss and there was nothing seriously wrong with me.  Blood was taken but I doubt the doctor even glanced at the prelim results that came in before they sent me home telling me that the pain was muscular in nature.  I was sent home with a script for Buscopan and a note for an ultrasound “just in case you still experience some pain on monday“.  Stupidest thing a doctor has EVER done. I should have been admitted right there and then.

I spent most of sunday curled up in a little ball in absolute agony, unable to walk or eat and throwing up like there was no tomorrow…muscular my ass! Monday morning I drove myself back to Sunninghill for the ultrasound. Crying all the way as even the slightest movement caused the worse pain EVER.  So here’s the thing…because of my car accident and the damage that caused and the constant pain I deal with, my pain threshold is pretty high. For me to be in this much pain and crying…well it says a lot.  The lady who did the ultrasound nearly had a heart attack when she finally got the scan done and I was immediately admitted and put on a morphine and anti-biotic drip.  And EVERYONE was asking how the hell I got sent home by casualty.

The short version of this is after spending Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in hospital with an acutely inflamed gallbladder, liver, colon and pretty much everything else it was finally safer to do an op to remove my gallbladder.  The specialist surgeon (most amazing man alive) had hoped that they would be able to reduce the infection and be able to perform a standard keyhole surgery.  This was however not the case…as we know by now I do nothing in half measures.  I only came out of theatre more than 3 hours later with a tanked blood pressure (which gifted me with a stay in high care) and huge cuts…a 45 min op turned into a 3 hour butchery.  That week in hospital was the worst ever.  Before the operation the pain of the infection was so intense that i was on 8 different types of pain meds all the time (which didn’t work).  I was eventually given pethadine in conjunction with these in order to at least give me some relief.  I was swollen, yellow and very very sick.  After the op I had to deal with the fact that I was not only trying to recover from a major infection but also seriously invasive surgery, shredded core muscles and pneumonia as I wasn’t breathing properly due to the pain.

As it turns out I didn’t just have an infected gallbladder, or a gall stone or something…no no….I had gangrene.  A horrible, gangrenous, angry gallbladder which had started infecting everything around it.  I got completely stuck on that the first time the specialist explained that to me…so much so that i missed the next 5 minutes of what he said. GANGRENE!!?? I had a serious WTH moment…a reality check…and once I got home I had a bit of a cry.  The truth is…in my Specialist’s words during my second follow-up visit “you were slowly dying“….scary scary stuff.  Nobody is exactly sure how this happened and how I haven’t been in agony for ages as I’ve obviously been sick for years.  My guess is that it’s like a frog in a pot.  If you slowly turn up the heat he doesn’t realise he’s cooking.  I’ve just gotten so used to pain that I never even realised just in how much pain I was until it got really really bad. It’s no secret that i’ve had food related issues for years…this is probably all related to the same issue.

But I’m getting off track.  As I lay there in hospital, both before and after the operation, I wanted to die. I didn’t WANT to deal with the pain..it was too much.  I couldn’t even cry because it was too sore. Now that I’m well on my way to recovery that sounds ludicrous.  And I can’t even begin to imagine being in enough pain to put me in such a mindset…but I was. But here’s the thing….I don’t get to run.  I’m a gladiator.  Gladiators don’t run. They fight. They slay dragons. They wipe off the blood. They stitch up their wounds, and they live to fight another day.  I don’t get to run.

And as I sit here typing this I’m filled with more gratitude than I can begin to explain.  Grateful for my family (they rushed to come and be with me while I was in hospital and my mother dearest stayed on to look after me after I got out of hospital as initially I couldn’t do ANYTHING and they were just more amazing than i can put into words), my guy person (I can’t even describe how utterly amazing he’s been), my friends (who went above and beyond to visit in hospital, take care of me afterwards and check in on me all the time) for all the love and support and for all the prayers.  But mostly I’m grateful because even in my darkest moments, and even in the emotionally draining pit I was falling down God was there with me.  He knew my pain and He also knew that I was stronger than that. It wasn’t my time to go yet and I was never alone…not once.

So here I am…I’ve started driving and can, for the most part do most things.  I’m not allowed back in gym for a while and I’m not allowed to lift heavy things and I have ZERO core strength at present.  But that will come…so will speed (everything currently happens in slow motion as fast movements are painful).  I’m celebrating the small victories such as being able to reach my toes without wanting to die, being able to get upright after lying in bed without help, SLEEPING ON MY SIDE! Every day little things that we so often take for granted.   I’m sporting 3 brand new scars, 2 of which are small and subtle but a third you’d have to be blind to miss..since i’m already riddled with them I’ve decided to embrace my brand new battle scar and to be honest I think in time it’ll fade quite nicely.  It’s over 15cm, but the surgeon went to a lot of trouble to use cosmetic stitches rather than settling for the norm and he’s done a damn good job:)

The fact is…life is good. It has to be, because I choose it that way.

Dear 2012

I can hardly believe that I’m sitting here writing my annual “end of year” blog already. It feels like just yesterday that I was jetting off to the States to see in the new year in Times Square with my closest friend.  But here I am, looking back and reflecting on the year that’s been.  My initial reaction when thinking about this year is that it was a really really tough one…but it wasn’t all bad. There was a lot of good contained in this year too…a lot of happy moment shared by myself and the ones I consider dear to me.

Every year I write a little post listing big events or things I’ve learnt and this year shall be no different.  Please feel free to add anything I’ve missed in the comment sections…since you guys share such a big part of my life anyway:)

  • I kicked of the year with a massive party in my favourite city in the whole world.  My close friend and I traveled to the States to conquer Washington DC and New York and to party in Time’s square along with millions of other people.  It was one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life, and to be honest when I think about it I can almost not believe that I was really there:)

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  • The rest of our holiday in the US and I extended my stay with a week to go visit my brother and sister-in-law.
  • I get to spend my brother’s birthday with him for the first time in many years

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  • I felt Baby B (nephew) kick for the first time and I accompanied my sister-in-law on one of her visits and was able to hear his little heart beat.  I’m not broody at all…never have been. But hearing that little heart beat…my eyes filled with tears and that little baby stole my heart right then and there…even though he was still a few months away from being born.
  • The Italian somehow managed to squeeze over my walls and swept me off my feet…sadly it didn’t last and later in 2012 we broke up.

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  • After months of waiting (having ordered it in October 2011 already) and secret keeping (very few people knew) my gorgeous and epic car arrived in January. My little MINI, spec’d to a level of crazy and exactly as I wanted it:) MINI FTW!!!
  • For the first time I was faced with the harsh realities of being self-employed. It’s a scary world and I’m grateful that it was only a small scare.
  • My gran became seriously ill and was admitted to a hospital in Durban.  I flew down for one night as we were all convinced she wouldn’t make it thought the weekend.  I return to Jozi broken-hearted, convinced I’d never speak to her again
  • My gran makes a miraculous recovery from the pneumonia and is sent home…but the cancer is back with a vengeance and we all know it won’t be long.
  • My close friend got engaged to the girl who stole his heart:)
  • Early one morning I ended up in ER with everyone convinced I was having a heart attack.  Biggest SCARE EVER! I made hospital art after the ECG.

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  • I move into a new home.  I LOVE it! probably twice the size of my previous place and I have a little garden.
  • I meet the neighbourlady…which in the few months that I’ve lived in the new place, has become an amazing friend.
  • My gran passed away peacefully while taking an afternoon nap. I think this was the one single event that shaped my opinion of this year. It broke me. Utterly and completely.  She was the strongest most amazing woman, she was my best friend and just like that she was no longer with us.  I still feel my eyes filling with tears just thinking about it.  I miss her so very much.
  • Baby B is born the day after my gran passed away. The most beautiful and perfect little boy and despite not actually being able to hold and cuddle him he has stolen my heart:)

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  • My mother receives my grandmother’s Ruby ring that my grandfather gave her on their 40th wedding anniversary and she decides to give it to me. Ruby being my birthstone and all. (happy tears) I wear it every single day:)

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  • A rather scary event (work related) forces me to reconsider my chosen profession.  I love my job…but is it worth the danger I put the people I love in?  It took weeks of prayer, planning and a lot of personal analysis to figure this one out.
  • I took my parentals to see my dad’s all time favourite band when they were in SA – The Moody Blues…what an awesome concert!

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  • I turned the big three oh.  Most other people I know had a little episode when they realise they were turning 30…me not so much.  If nothing else it has brought me to a place in my life where I’m less concerned about what others think and more about the happiness of myself and the ones I love.  It’s brought a new confidence and a happiness all on its own.  So I’m 30..so what…age is just a number:) It has also brought along a new motto: Some will, some won’t, so what, next.
  • I went to see Madame Zingara and became part of the show:P

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  • My mother had to go for a really big operation and I was a complete wreck.  Grateful that I was in a position where I was able to work from their home for a week and look after her.
  • Christmas 2012…our first without my gran…a joyful and sad event.
  • It’s been a year of incredibly long hours and hard work and a lot of pressure work wise. I still haven’t quite figured out how to relax…I’m trying my best to master this art though:P  But I still tend to go overboard and work myself to the edge of a burnout.
  • I’ve learnt that no matter how hard you try, for some people nothing will ever be good enough.
  • The ones who hurt us the most are the ones we trust and love the most, because it is to them that we open our hearts, our dreams, our desires and our weaknesses.
  • I’ve once again realised that you can make really good friends in the most unlikely of places.
  • Not everyone who proclaims to be your friend will treat you as such.
  • True friends are worth more to me than any riches
  • People will judge and oppose that which they do not understand.
  • It has been a long year…I’m beyond tired and I’m still working.  No holiday plans for me yet and it was with shock that I realised that I haven’t been off since returning from the States in January.  Not a weekend away, not a weekend off, mostly work work work and more work. But it has been a good year and despite some events that made it seem like a yucky year I have been blessed.  I realise that a lot of people who read my blog do not share my beliefs when it comes to God, but how can I say goodbye to a year without including the most important part of who I am and what I believe.  God has provided me with a lot of grace and love and understanding and comfort this year.  He has also blessed me in ways I can not even begin to explain or even comprehend.  He is my Rock:)

Well my lovelies, I think that about sums it up. My 2012 in a nutshell.
As far as 2013 goes…I think this is going to be a big year all round.  There are many exciting things in the pipeline…weddings, engagements, work things, friend things, family things and hopefully some epic holidays and fun times with the people dear to me.  I wish you guys all the best for 2013.  Make every single day count.  Do what makes you happy. Take responsibility for your actions. Tell the people you love that you love them as often as you can…they might not have a tomorrow. Laugh a lot. Dance and be silly.  Work hard.  Do your best in all you do. 2013…look out, we’re coming for you!

Love
Ruby
xxxx

 

Dear Auntie E

I can not believe you are gone:(  I think I may still be in a state of shock.  You were the mother of many “orphans” in Jozi.  Your house and your heart were always open to the friends of your children that missed their own parents and were far away from home.  There was always an extra plate of food in case someone needed it, always a glass of wine, a smile and a hug available.  We miss you already.

Love
Ruby
xxxx

Dear HQ Sandton

I would just like to pop you a quick note to say thank you for hosting my party on Saturday:) Throughout the process I was assisted by competent and friendly individuals (specifically Riaan and Bruce) and their advice and help was highly appreciated.

The food, as always was divine and my only complaint involves one of your staff members breaking the stiletto shoe on my cake *sulks*. Other than that I am one happy and satisfied little customer.

I’ve included a few snapshots of the night…I have so many pictures, but sadly I can’t put ALL of them here.  I’ve included only a few with some of my friendsters.  Thanx again!

Ruby
xxxx

Poutypants