Newsletter – Tomjachu Bush Retreat.

Tomjachu Bush Retreat – Tips for planning a summer holiday to remember

After a long year of working hard and trying to achieve at least some, if not all of your New Year’s resolutions, it is important to reward yourself. Take some time to kick back and reflect, spend some quality time with your family and friends and enjoy a well-deserved holiday to remember. Our tips for a memorable summer holiday include:

1.    Find a place you can call home 
When looking for holiday accommodation for the family, try and find a place that will be comfortable and meet the needs of the family; children and adults alike. This is the foundation for a comfortable stay, especially if it’s more than a few days.2.    Research
Once you’ve identified the “perfect” destination, be sure to research, research, research some more. A good place to start is by having a look at visitor reviews as these will give you a general outlook on what previous guests thought of the location, food and service.3.    Contact Directly 
It is always advisable to contact establishments directly via email or phone to find out about their various offerings or to make a reservation. Often you will find out more than what you see on a website, and you can get a sense of the service quality by the speed of response and information provided.

4.    Advice on itinerary
Direct contact with your holiday provider also allows you to confirm if the activities mentioned on the website are available and to ask if the activities you plan to do are feasible in the time you have, and suitable for you and your party. This will ensure that you do not bite off more than you can chew and that there’s a seamless flow as you move from one activity to the next, with time in-between to enjoy your surroundings and the company of family and friends.

5.    Create an “Out of the Office” auto-reply and disconnect!
With travel dates confirmed and the entire family ready for the ultimate getaway, the last thing you need is to be glued to your laptop, tablet or phone, swamped by emails. To avoid this, remember to set your ‘out of office’ notification with your departure and return date, and assign an alternative contact person for urgent matters. If you do have to connect, try to allocate an hour or so a day for work related activities, and then switch off completely for the rest of the time.

6.    Have FUN!!
Allow yourself to completely escape from your daily hustle and bustle and simply enjoy spending quality time with your loved ones. Immerse yourself in the pure and utter beauty of your surroundings.

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Contact details:
Tel: +27(0)82 704 4804

FOR GOODNESS SAKE. The Bistro with Buzz.

Some time back I was surprised to see that what used to be The Warehouse Coffee Shop had changed hands and was now called “For Goodness Sake”. As a serious FOMO sufferer, I decided to pop in and see what what was going on.  To my surprise I found that the whole exterior and interior had been completely revamped to give it a part wood, part industrial feel and the place was pumping.  And to my delight I found  the executive chef was none other that the young, beautiful, vivacious Alexandra Sparrow, who studied at  HTA School of Culinary Art and  has worked at various popular restaurants like   De Hoek Country Hotel.  This definitely called for another visit, and on Sunday we decided to pop in for a “quick” breakfast.  I say “quick” because a breakfast or any meal at For Goodness Sake” is never a “quick” affair. We arrived and were immediate met by one of the waitresses who showed us to a table of our choice.  Alexandra came out from behind the walled and glass kitchen to greet us and tell us about all her specials that were on the menu for that day.  Alexandra is very creative and always experimenting with new menu’s and tastes to bring the best she can to the ‘table’.  I chose to try out the new Heirloom Basil Stack, while Captain Clever and the Bluebird went for the more traditional breakfasts like the Farmhouse Breakfast and delicious chicken livers on toast. Other delectable fair on the menu include the BEST lamburgers,  Chai latte with almond milk and oatmeal biscuit, ‘Berry Nice’ French toast, Beetroot latte (this I have to try) and so much more.  While there, we were able to meet with and chat to the new owner,  Helen D’Oliveira.  Helen is a delightful, happy person full of vision and ideas.  The great thing about Helen is that her visions and ideas don’t just remain that – visions and ideas.  She follows through and has already started on her projects for the betterment of the property she has purchased.  There are plans in place for a beer garden type set-up out back, a play area, a For Goodness Sake pop-in-pop-out coffee area (Cant give too much away yet), various workshops and so much more.  A big undertaking for anyone, and the fact that Helen has decided to tackle this project single highhandedly is just a great source of pride for me, to see what women are capable of with encouragement and support, and being given credit for just being awesome amazing women. This woman knows and goes for what she wants. So now you know….so don’t say I never told you!  As an added bonus, Dale Lambert has her ceramic art studio right next door!  or check out her website at  We at Shelbewhere and ‘Explored and Approved HOSPITALITY’ wish these girls every success in their new venture.  To contact them, give them a call on 082 789 4033 or check out their FB page at and leave a message.


As promised, here is the telling about my incredible trip from South Africa to New Zealand on board QANTAS Business Class and Premier Economy Class.  Did you know that QANTAS is an acronym for ” Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”?  Well I had no clue till I asked one of the amazing crew members during my flight.  It was then that I decided to do some research and find out more about this fabulous airline. P.s. Qantas Airways Limited is also known as “The Flying Kangaroo”.


Queensland in 1920, with a single aircraft, an Avro 504K, 
purchased for £1425.  Three guys, namely Sir Hudson Fysh  (1895-1974), Paul McGinness (1896-1952) Sir Fergus McMaster (1879-1950) got together and saw the great benefits that aviation would bring to the people of Western Queensland.  A fourth guy, namely W Arthur Baird (1889-1954) joined a short while later and was responsible for the excellent engineering that QANTAS has never lost, connecting Australia to the world.

At this moment QANTAS have an impressive fleet consisting of the Qantas A330, Qantas A380, Qantas B787, Qantas B747-400, Qantas B737-800 and the Qantas B717.

I HAVE TO mention that QANTAS have a division (don’t know if division  the correct word to use) called “Flying Art”.  As you will know, this REALLY impressed me.  The “Flying Art” series, which involved working and collaborating with the Australian design Studio, Balarinji, is a project where individual artists were commissioned to design and produce some of the most striking and original looking aircraft to ever take to the sky.  To see and read more about this, check out the webpage –

I did not know i would be flying business class till I got to the airport and checked in. You can just imagine my excitement. So excited that I hugged the check-in lady. I quickly got back my composure and suddenly took on the persona of someone who frequently flies Business Class (you know…the smug look).  I was lead…yes…lead to the business and first class lounge, aptly named The Shongololo Lounge.  Here one can sit around and “lounge”,  while sipping on cocktails and snacking on the top-quality cuisine on offer. The décor and service is VERY impressive, with waiters standing by to see to your every need. Showers and bathroom facilities are available just in case you feel you want to “freshen up” before your long flight. (so wish I could insert smiley faces here) Business class passengers get preferential treatment and can board first, normally through a separate entrance to the “cattle class” passengers. Cattle class is my normal mode of flight, so I know the feeling of having to walk past the business class passengers with an envious ‘feel sorry for me’ look on my face. This time I got to go through that separate entrance and was shown to my seat by the most obliging hosts and hostesses.  There is an Afrikaans saying that says “aan niks gewoond”.  It basically means “not used to anything”.  This usually applies when one gets to experience something out of the ordinary, that is usually reserved for the rich and famous and behaves inappropriately. Mmmmm…well I must admit I had to keep reining myself in to NOT be “aan niks gewoond”.  I had to be especially strict with myself when I saw the “goody bag”, where I knew (from doing some research) that it contained toiletries, socks, an eye mask and…. cotton pajamas with the Qantas logo on the front. Oh my goodness…I think I was more excited about the pajamas than I was about my seat.   I suppose it’s pointless to remind you that the seats in business class recline into REAL beds. They are spacious, very like the “lazyboy” chairs one can buy for your lounge, except these recline completely.  Passengers are provided with a crisp clean sheet as well  as a very comfy duvet and proper pillows (not the little square tissue thin ‘pillow’ that one finds in Economy class) Because of the high sides of the chair, one feels completely private.  This is especially comforting if you tend to snore or splutter while sleeping. The sides have within them, a remote for the swing out flat screen TV, with an array of movies, series and documentaries available to watch during the flight. A small panel in the arm rest is your very own massager. You can click and maneuver buttons that can give you an all over back and leg massage or if you don’t feel like the full Monty, you can just have your lower back massaged.  Heavenly!! So while you are testing out all the gadgets, checking to see what delights await you in the specially designed toiletry bags, trying on your QANTAS branded pajamas or merrily chatting to your fellow Business Class passengers, a hostess lays the spacious drop down table in front of you with beautiful Marc Newson designed tableware, in preparation for dinner.

Meals on board the QANTAS flights deserve a whole paragraph to themselves. Well presented menus are passed to the passengers soon after take-off. As soon as everyone is well settled, the flight crew come to take your orders.  Oh my goodness…the mouth waters just thinking about it.  As my flight was throughout the night, I was obviously given the dinner menu. I chose the Sri Lankan Lamb curry with spinach and basmati.  I don’t usually favour any sort of curry, but this was cooked to absolute perfection.  Not hot and not too spicy. Just right.  For dessert, I had the apple and blueberry crumble with custard.  I was so tempted to ask for more, but held back because I was ‘supposed’ to be on diet. Snacks are available and served throughout the flight, as well as select award winning wines and champagnes.

I had a good 6 hours sleep, in my QANTAS pajamas and pressure socks and woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the next leg of my journey. (No kankles or swollen legs)  Having had this amazing experience, I doubt I’m ever going to want to fly any other way again.  Thank you, QANTAS, for giving me the opportunity to experience that “QANTAS MAGIC”. Check out the QANTAS website at and have a look at their FB page –




So after I had done the business I needed to do in Dunedin, I had a few hours to spare before my flight to Christchurch, and I asked the car hire guy what the one thing was that I needed to see in Dunedin.  Without hesitation he said “Larnach Castle”.  So I quickly put the info into my GPS and made my way up to the castle. The views going up were fantastic and if the roads were not so narrow I would have taken a million more photos. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, make the effort and go and see for yourself.  And look out for the different post boxes.  They are awesome.  This postbox was right at the top of the farm below. This is very common throughout New Zealand.  All the post boxes are on the road, regardless of how far your farm is from the road, sometimes many in a row.  (Keep an eye out for all my post box pics in the next post)

A brief history of William Larnach and his castle with extracts taken from their website 

Situated on the picturesque Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle is one of New Zealand’s premier visitor attractions. The Castle and surrounding grounds are at the heart of the Dunedin visitor experience.  Larnach Castle Limited offers the full castle experience, award winning gardens, luxury accommodation, event management and unique dining experiences. Larnach Castle has received numerous national and international accolades.  Built in 1871 by William Larnach, who was a merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza.

Williams Story

William James Mudie Larnach, of Scottish descent, was born in 1833 in New South Wales, Australia.  His banking career began in Melbourne then followed the gold rush to the Australian goldfields where he was manager of the Bank of New South Wales at Ararat.  His bank was a tent and his equipment consisted of dogs, a gun, and strong boxes.  When gold was discovered in Otago, New Zealand, in the 1860’s, Larnach was offered the position of manager of the Bank of Otago in Dunedin, which serviced the extensive goldfields.  He sailed for Dunedin in 1867.
Larnach’s brilliant career encompassed his merchant empire “Guthrie and Larnach”, banking, shipping, farming, landholding, politics and… speculation.  He travelled extensively and was a cabinet minister in the New Zealand Government, holding various portfolios, over a period of twenty-five years. He was married three times and had six children.  He was pre-deceased by his first two wives and his eldest daughter, Kate.  He took his own life in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in 1898.

Building Larnach Castle 

A story is told that William and one of his sons went for a horse ride along the top of the Otago Peninsula to choose the best site for their home. Today you can still see why this site was chosen as it has wonderful panoramic views of Dunedin, Otago Harbour, the Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean.  

First the site was clear-felled, then the hill site was levelled by putting pegs into the volcanic rock and pouring salt water on them to split the rock.  Approximately 200 men spent three years building the shell of the Castle and then gifted European craftsmen spent 12 years embellishing the interior. 

Materials from all over the world were used – marble from Italy, slate from Wales, floor tiles from England, glass from Venice and France. No expense was spared! (Take note of all the detail in the wood-work) Many New Zealand native woods were also used – kauri ceilings, rimu floors and honeysuckle panelling. In 1885 a 3,000 square foot Ballroom was added.

The Larnach Family

‘Larnach’s first wife Eliza Guise, had six children – Donald, Douglas, Kate, Colleen, Alice and Gladys.  Eliza died at the age of 38 when Gladys was still a baby.  Larnach then married Eliza’s half sister Mary Alleyne.  They were married for 5 years when sadly Mary also died at the age of 38.  Larnach then married a much younger lady, Constance de Bathe Brandon.  He was struck by tragedy when his favourite daughter Kate died in her 20s.  Five of the children were sent to England for their education. This meant long sea voyages and a lot of time away from the Castle and family.
After Larnach’s suicide in 1898 the family was further torn apart by legal battles over Larnach’s property as he died intestate. The family then sold the Castle in 1906.
At this stage, The Castle is privately owned and cared for by the Barker family who purchased it as their home in 1967.  Decades have been spent on the Castle’s restoration, with the family having restored empty buildings from ruin and assembled a large collection of original New Zealand period furniture and antiques. This living collection showcases the craftsmanship and spirit of New Zealand.
Open to the public throughout, this conservation project has been funded through admission fees.  The family has always been committed to opening their home and sharing this significant period of Dunedin and New Zealand’s history.’

‘Scandalous and tragic stories, spectacular tower views and a Garden of International Significance complete this enjoyable award-winning experience.’

I’m still reading up on all the “scandalous stories” and maybe get some more info about old William- the man.  Perhaps this pic of a ‘thone’ in the garden will add more light .

As this is a major tourist attraction in Dunedin, it’s only natural that here would be a little curio shop on site, selling all things “Larnach”, as well as other related items.  The shop is inside the castle 

Fast Facts:

Area: Dunedin, New Zealand.

Address: Larnach Castle, 145 Camp Road,

Otago Peninsula,

Dunedin 9077,
New Zealand.

Contact number: 00 64 3 476 1616




Having had two of my sons living in Cape Town, I will find any excuse to visit the Mother City. Not only to see the boys, but to see more, do more and get to know my country better.  Living in Gauteng, Cape Town is a world apart. I’m still trying to decide whether it’s a place I would like to live, or to keep it as purely a holiday/quick getaway destination. For me, Cape Town is really all about entertainment, café’s, bars, deli’s, strange different people (said in a politically correct way). I’m sure it is much much more than that, but for now, this is what I see. Being an observer of people, I think Capetonians sometimes try a little too hard to be” different”, but that’s a story for another day…

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NH The Lord Charles. Winter special. Somerset West

Check out what The Lord Charles has on offer for this winter!

Contact details:

Corner Main Road (M9) and Broadway Boulevard (R44) . Somerset West.   Cape Town. South Africa                                                                                                                                                               Tel: +27 21 855 1040

CYCAD GUEST HOUSE. POLOKWANE. Brilliant deal. NOT to be missed.

Cycad Guest House.

Check out this amazing winter deal that Cycad Guest House in Polokwane (aka Pietersburg)  is offering. Definitely NOT to be missed.  I have had the pleasure of staying at this stunning place many times and can assure that it is definitely top TOP class.  Have a look at their FB page –