Cradle of memories

When we first got engaged one of dearest couple friends The Smiths rushed us out to the Cradle to the Restaurant for sun-downer cocktails to wish us well, and what a setting it was. If I remember correctly I think we ended up staying for supper and just making a whole evening of it, and since then The Cradle Restaurant has always held a special place in my heart.

When it comes to living in Joburg, we can be sentimental but that does not mean we will rush back to a restaurant that does not excel in areas of food quality, service and ambience/decor. Somehow it has been that over the years we have come to return to this particular venue, for reasons varying from work events, meals with friends and again yesterday for another very special wedding.

What an amazing wedding it was. The ceremony setting was completely unique, with all of us escorted on land rovers deep into the bush for the simplest of backdrops to the most meaningful of vows. The decor was beautiful and Elben&Anri did the most outstanding job of all the design elements from their savethedate to the individualised Josh&Meegs facts at each place related to the theme of the table.

Personally I loved the lampshades

Personalised lampshades

but the energy of Josh and Meegs was in everything in every way, and Josh said it so beautifully when he said “it means so much that in the busyness you have chosen to be here tonight with us, and so just for tonight we are yours and you are ours” and the party just got started from there. Ok I think I might be lying perhaps feet started tapping when Josh and the groomsmen first went down the aisle…I missed the first part because I was arbitrarily taking photos not realising what was coming our way!

So as you can imagine with all this going on, who would be concentrating on the food – oh but how wrong you are.  Whilst waiting for our transport back up to the Restaurant we enjoyed a delightful pimms with a selection of snacks which were just the thing to tide us over.  Looking back the food just seemed to go on and on through the evening and we could not help ourselves but to dive in with gusto at every opportunity – although Chantal did bemoan the 4 pieces of homemade bread she had indulged in when we first arrived ahead of the bridal couple and were unsure how long the wait would be.

We were soon served beautifully plated gorgonzola and toasted walnuts on bruschetta with blue gum honey, really the pudding of the starters if I could say so, it was too divine. We then enjoyed the somewhat startling speeches – who knew we would hear the details of the bride’s fathers swimmers and all that went into her entry into this world? The various speeches duration allowed for some much needed space creation before we were served mains, which were a choice of fillet or pan-seared yellowtail which had most couples eagerly sharing in order to enjoy the best of both.

Josh’s speech will long be remembered as the definitive in groom’s speeches, he really knows how to bring a room to tears, and so we were more than ready for the nutty phyllo with strawberries & mascarpone to give us the energy we needed for the dance floor. Of course I need to improve my skillset in these things because at this point I had been both so engrossed in conversation and yummy food that I stopped capturing anything on my phone, so no visuals for you, sorry.

I think though in summary the point of this story, is that sometimes we have special times with the ones we love and sometimes we have wonderful foodie experiences which are worth  raving about for days and weeks to come, but there is nothing better, than when the two come together to complement and enhance the serendipity of such occasions. Thank you Josh&Meegs for what could be our last visit to a very special place, you have sealed a world of memories in the best possible way.

Murray, after an all night flight back from Dubai with little to no sleep

Which moment of truth is defining your journey today?

So one of my biggest passions in life is marketing. I don’t know when it started or why, but for the longest possible time I have been consumed with a fascination for understanding what drives consumer behaviour and why they choose the products they do.

So for me there are these ‘moments of truth’ which are generally accepted in the world of consumer marketing speak as defining steps in the consumer journey. I have always been familiar with the first and second moment of truth, being the point of purchase and the actual use of product. Recently someone introduced me to the zero moment of truth referring to the fact that for many consumers today, decisions and influence points are happening before the instore environment and if we do not utilise these opportunities appropriately, we may have lost the consumer before they even enter the door.

So for me this section is about my passion for consumer marketing… for a long time this has been an area I have been hesitant to speak up about because so often in a globally driven corporate brand team I do not always get to drive consumer communication work the way I would do it if it were all up to me, but how true is this for so many of us…so now I am slowly going to start speaking up because I’d rather join the conversation from a platform of clear imperfection than never learn and grow with everyone around me.

I think now more than ever it is up to us to understand where in the journey the consumer has drifted away from our conversation and why?

Mia AKA Rapunzel

So one day in Dec 2010 whilst her second mother was babysitting her, my cunning and deceptive daughter gave herself a hair cut. Lets say she went from just over shoulder length to Mohawk – it was very impactful and had to be rapidly rescued by our friends at Chop It.

So began a period of mourning in her life, a time when she truly had to acknowledge the role she had played i.e. central, pivotal, instrumental – there really was no one else to blame – in cutting off her precious locks, and so the year of Rapunzel worship entered our domain.

So the theme of her party was set Rapunzel it would be. And oh what a party it was.  There are so many things I could say, should say, but won’t because they always say once it is written down, you can never take it back and everyone has heard versions of what led up to the fateful day of my husband discovering the biggest children’s party imaginable.

The amazing Rapunzel Activity updating board for the kids

One could almost say he discovered it when he arrived there. Except that he made the cake and so he had to have a clue that there were 50+ kids coming. So let’s agree that he began to pick up that maybe things had slipped out of control the night before.

You know how sometimes in life you go out to be deliberately deceptive, and hide things from someone because you know if you tell them the full truth, they will say no and you are so determined to have your own way that you proceed knowing full well what their reaction will be but hiding your decision and actions long enough so that once they discover what is happening, there is no way for them to stop you from proceeding. Well this situation could not have been farther from that example than you could ever have imagined.

There I was having been travelling for weeks on end, sick as a dog with a sinus infection which had actively drained my brain and all I did was innocently send out invites to those I thought we should invite. All I forgot to do was write a list first and count it. The only guest list I wrote with that party was the RSVPs as they came in and let me tell you by the time I realised what was happening, things were so out of control that I knew this was a beast even I could not control.

Of course like he does every year, because he is the best father in the world, Murray went on to make her the princess castle cake she had been describing since January and oh what an act of love it was. One day when we are alone, ask me about those roof tiles, and about Zizi and the number of candles…but of course what does she notice and love most of all – the purple flag ribbons!

Famous castle cake with the happiest Princess of them all

But then the beautiful and amazing Bronwyn and Meagan stepped in and saved me, taking over the entire decor, party pack, games and so many pieces of the plan that just transformed the monster into a mistress of beauty. People like Lara and Juliet and Charleen all helped with pieces of the party and without them I could not have done it.

All the moms who helped with the treasure hunt, and Steve who let down the biggest basket of treasure I have ever seen… all these amazing friends helped my daughter feel like the absolute princess she is, and even though the reality that hair takes time to grow has now sunk in….so too has the feeling that she is loved.

She told me afterwards “you know mom, I have lots of friends and cousins who love me” and that after all is so much more important than how long her hair is. But I do think the wig helped!

Rapunzel on her jumping castle

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